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)