Monthly Archives: June 2010

The first 26 steps every smart candidate should take

The first 26 steps every smart candidate should take

  1. Prepare your family for the rigors of your run for office. Specifically, discuss what role your spouse will play in the campaign.
  2. Make arrangements for the impact of a campaign on your work life and financial affairs.
  3. Seek advice from those who have run for office before.
  4. Make the irrevocable decision to run and run as hard as you can.
  5. Be able to articulate your reason for running in 25 words or less.
  6. Begin to raise money. Make a list of potential donors.
  7. Consider the possibility of making a loan to your campaign
  8. Complete a detailed and accurate resume.
  9. Complete a 2-3 page autobiography.
  10. List possible strengths and weaknesses for yourself and your opponent.
  11. Begin acquainting yourself with local delegates.
  12. Find or create adequate space (without cost!) that can be used exclusively as a campaign headquarters.
  13. Assemble a campaign committee starting with at least a campaign manager and treasurer.
  14. Compile a local press list: TV, radio, newspapers.
  15. Take a tour of your district. Make notes of your findings (i.e. schools, senior homes, business districts, etc.) Secure photos of yourself at these locations.
  16. Begin to research state and local issues that affect your district.
  17. Assemble a volunteer group. Letter writers, parade walkers, doorknockers, etc.
  18. Working with your campaign manager, develop and write down your campaign plan detailing a budget and strategy.
  19. Create the simple message that will be your rationale for running for office during the campaign.
  20. Design campaign logo and slogan.
  21. Announce your candidacy.
  22. Prioritize precincts. Look at district demographics and list precincts from best to worst.
  23. Prepare yourself physically and mentally for the day-to-day grind. Campaigns are a marathon, not a sprint.
  24. Have as a goal the completion of at least one thing each day for your campaign. It may be big, it may be small, but do at least one thing each day.
  25. If you have a faith, practice it. Go to church weekly to stay grounded and remember what is really important.
  26. HAVE FUN! It’s government. How bad can we really screw it up anyway?

(Adapted in part from Ron Faucheux’s The First 25 Steps Every Smart Candidate Should Take, as printed in Campaigns & Elections Magazine)

Parade Photos: Frame Your Face

When it comes to taking photos of a candidate at parades, the photographer must be part of the crowd. What does this mean?

A good campaign photo including parades should show at least two-thirds of the candidate’s face.  If the photographer is in the street with the candidate, then this is difficult to accomplish and usually results in the  “back of the head” photo.  The photographer should situate themselves behind the crowd. This requires your photographer to weave through the crowd to get the right perspective for a photo.  This also eliminates any potential problems with the people in the photo the candidate is greeting.  Some people may not want their face in a campaign photo.

Here are a couple sample parade photos your photographer should try to replicate:

P2B Strategies’ partner Magic Light Images is experienced with taking professional campaign photos especially parades.  Please contact us for more information.

Whether you use our photography services or a local volunteer, your photographer must be part of the crowd.  And don’t forget, it takes tens if not hundreds of photos to get a few quality parade photos.

You can post lawn signs on June 25 but should you?

Due to new state law, campaign lawn signs can now be posted on Friday, June 25. This is a change from the previous date of August 1. While many campaigns are readying for that date, there are at least a couple reasons why you may want to reconsider.

  1. Do you have the money to purchase all your lawn signs and supplies (sign stands, rebar, post pounders and cable ties) at one time? Lawn signs are one of the major purchases your campaign will make. If you want to run a competitive campaign, you’ll want to find locations for at least 300 (or more) signs in a House race, 500 (or more) in a Senate race. Expect to spend several thousand dollars for signs, rebar, sign stands and the other necessary supplies. Regardless of from whom you purchase your signs (and P2B Strategies has great prices on signs), you will always get your best price by purchasing all your signs at once, rather than on a piecemeal basis. The cost per sign is much less when you purchase 300 vs. three orders of 100. The only exception is if you purchase two or more sizes of signs. Under this scenario, you could buy all your small or large signs at one time and save the purchase of the other size for down the road.
  2. Do you have your locations secured? Unless you’re an incumbent or have access to signs lists from previous candidates, you may not have your locations secured so a June 25 posting is a moot point.
  3. There is a lot of “mowing” time in July and early August and some sign supporters, after you’ve worked hard to get the location and had volunteers put it in, will move the sign to mow. This inevitably causes maintenance problems. Also don’t be surprised if a lot of the signs that were “temporarily” taken down to mow never find their way back to the lawn and instead live the rest of their campaign life in the comfort of a shaded garage. Or how about this scenario. The candidate or sign volunteer sees the sign in a yard one day, but down the next, and proceeds to replace the sign that was removed to mow. Now you’ve got the same problem times two. While this problem can occur at any time, a later sign posting date makes it less likely.
  4. The sign of a disorganized and sloppy campaign is signs that are falling down, crooked, blowing in the wind, bent over and otherwise not maintained. Are you prepared to maintain and police your signs for the additional time necessary if you post them the weekend of June 25? Lawn signs are an important part of your campaign. But they also create an enormous amount of work. If you don’t have the volunteers to do regular sign maintenance, it’s better to wait. The candidate should not be spending time doing sign maintenance. The candidate should spend time doorknocking.
  5. The downside is that if you wait, you won’t be the first candidate to post signs, so you do lose some of the early name I.D. that comes from being first. On the other hand, the DFL gubernatorial primary means Dayton, Kelliher Anderson and Entenza will likely be the first race to post signs anyway.

For more ideas that influence, contact us today.

Shorter political calendar causes headaches

Politics in Minnesota
Original Post
by Charley Shaw
Published: May 28,2010

Early primary may be the least of them

When legislators decide to retire on the last night of session, the political parties in their home districts usually scramble to field possible successors and endorse a candidate.

But with this year’s primary election moved up from September to August — and most of the major events on the political calendar bumped up a month as well — the scene in Senate District 67 this year has looked more like chaos than a rush job.

Paul Sawyer, chairman of the District 67 DFL Party in St. Paul, found himself in a race against the clock beginning on May 18, the morning after Sen. Mee Moua, DFL-St. Paul, announced her surprise retirement on the last night of session.

“It’s been completely different for us,” Sawyer said. “With the filing period previously [coming] in July, we would have announced the retirement and we would have got together with candidates and then held an endorsing convention.

“With this [year’s situation], we had an emergency meeting and, I would say, made a hasty decision for one of four bad choices.”

The menu of unattractive options included a Memorial Day weekend endorsing convention, throwing the whole matter to the State Central Committee to decide, or refraining from endorsing a candidate at all. District 67’s board chose the last, and the number of DFLers who have filed to run reached five when retiring St. Paul police chief John Harrington announced on Friday that he would run as well.

Federal changes caused crunch

The changes to Minnesota’s political calendar, which were prompted by new federal rules designed to ensure that military members and other voters who are overseas can submit ballots in time to be counted back home, has imposed new hardships on campaigns for the Legislature.

The difference was felt even before the onset of the candidate filing period, which ends Tuesday. Incumbents stuck in St. Paul watched endorsed challengers emerge earlier than in previous years. Political parties and legislative caucuses have had less time to field candidates. And the state GOP and DFL endorsing conventions, which used to happen after the Legislature adjourned, were held in late April as the end of session still loomed a few weeks away.

GOP political consultant Gregg Peppin was a central figure in candidate recruitment efforts for his party’s House caucus from 1992 until 2006. He said the earlier calendar has had an impact on candidate recruitment.

“What I’m finding is that — obviously — taking a month off the recruiting calendar is a huge, huge challenge to both parties,” Peppin said.

Melissa Parker, who ran House DFL campaign efforts in 2006 and 2008, said the party in the minority likely faces the greatest challenge in the bumped-up political calendar because it has to field the larger number of challengers. Peppin concurred.

The two-week candidate filing period, which has traditionally happened in July, began on May 18 and ends Tuesday. Coming on the heels of the legislative session that adjourned on May 17, it left more than District 67 in a pickle.

In House District 15B, two DFL candidates filed for office after Rep. Larry Haws, DFL-St. Cloud, announced his retirement on the last night of session. DFLers in 16B plan to endorse a candidate on June 16.

Carol Lewis and Zachary Dorholt have filed to run for the seat as DFLers. Dorholt said he’s inclined to abide by the endorsement. But the DFL Party’s rules prohibit either candidate from withdrawing from the primary ballot after June 4. Both candidates will be on the primary ballot unless one of them drops out before the deadline.

“It would be a matter of agreeing not to campaign. That’s what it’s going to come down to,” Dorholt said.

Because of the earlier political season, some Senate District endorsing conventions were held earlier than in past years. That led to political anxiety among legislators, who were chained to day-to-day business at the Capitol while election season was starting to take shape in their absence, Peppin said.

Rest anticipates few changes

Sen. Ann Rest, DFL-New Hope, is the chair of the State and Local Government Operations and Oversight Committee, which oversees elections policy. She said she’s keeping an eye on the headaches that come with the new political calendar. But she doesn’t foresee any major changes.

“Unless something startling happens, I think we will give ourselves two elections cycles and make only minor changes in 2012 and maybe not any,” Rest said.

She noted that one proposal floated in this year’s legislative session would have prohibited legislative sessions from starting after precinct caucuses. While the filing period is playing out under the new calendar, the impact of the Aug. 10 primary date remains a matter of conjecture.

In May, Hamline University political scientist David Schultz released a study making the case that an August primary would probably drive down voter turnout by about 2 percent. Peppin, on the other hand, said he doesn’t think primary turnout will be substantially different from the old September primaries.

“I guess we’ll find out,” he said. “I’m going to be bullish and say the drop off isn’t going to be that great. These are civic-minded people that are engaged in the issues in both parties.”