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Filing for Office

Filing for Office

Tips, Hints and One Key Mistake to Avoid!

Candidates for all of Minnesota’s constitutional offices, including State Representative and State Senator, who want their name to appear on the November ballot MUST file an affidavit of candidacy for office between Tuesday, May 20 and Tuesday, June 3. Candidates may withdraw their names from the ballot by by filing an affidavit of withdrawal within 2 days of the end of the filing period, or by Thursday, June 5.

Minnesota Statutes 204B.09 subd.1(d) states “Affidavits and petitions for state offices must be filed with the secretary of state or with the county auditor of the county in which the candidate resides.” This means you can file at the secretary of state’s office located in the State Office Building in St. Paul or at your home county auditor’s office.

Here are some filing suggestions.

  1. The filing fee is $100 for both State Representative and State Senator. Cash, campaign or personal check is accepted.
  2. You must know your district number when filing! If you file in the wrong district, and the paperwork is submitted, you’ll have to withdraw your candidacy and re-file at an additional $100 cost. If you fail to file in the correct district and the filing period ends, you’re out of luck.
  3. DON’T MAKE THE MISTAKE OF USING YOUR LEGAL OR FORMAL NAME WHEN FILING! Instead, use the name by which you are commonly known. For instance, if your legal name is Theodore Andrew McGuire IV, but you are commonly known as Ted McGuire, that is the name you should use.  Don’t use a formal first name such as Stephen, Jonathan, Elizabeth, etc., if everyone knows you as Steve, John or Betty. Don’t add a suffix such as “IV” or “Jr”. KEEP IT SIMPLE AND STRAIGHTFORWARD.
  4. While you don’t have to file the first day, there is no strategic reason to wait. Why not file early — within the first few days — so your opponent knows you’re ready to go! Give him/her something to think about every day.
  5. Bring a camera and take a picture to submit with your filing press release. (Make sure the photo is high resolution and remove the date stamp. Have the photo taken of either you completing the paperwork, handing it to the filing clerk or standing with smile in front of the counter.)
  6. Submit your “filing for office” press release and photo immediately after filing. You are likely to get press so make sure the press release reiterates your “why I’m running for office” message.
  7. The filing fee is a non-campaign disbursement and while it needs to be reported, doesn’t count against your spending limits. Your treasurer should properly code the expense as a non-campaign disbursement on your campaign finance report.

If you have questions about the filing process, or for other ideas that influence, contact us today.

Why Campaigns Matter

The recent edition of Politics magazine has a great article on Scott Brown’s upset win in the Massachusetts Senate race earlier this year. It speaks to the candidate’s dogged determination — he even doorknocked between events — in spite of the fact his campaign received virtually no media attention in the early days. Moral of the story? In a campaign, you can’t catch the wind at your back unless your sail is up! Is your sail ready to catch the wind?