The Making of a Candidate

Originally posted on and written by Mark Proctor

So you want to run for an elected office?  Answering the following questions can help you confirm that running is the right decision for you. 

1) Why do you think you are the best person for the position you seek?

2) Does your immediate family understand that if you are running for an elected office you will be spending many hours away from home during the campaign?

3) Do you have anything in your personal background (public records, credit reports, financial obligations, business or employment experience, etc.) that you would not want to be made public?

4) Do you have the physical stamina to go long hours with little sleep, often eating non-nutritional food on the run, and having your only exercise walking door-to-door visiting voters at their home?

5) Are you willing to be interviewed at length by probing reporters who will ask you questions you don’t want to be asked and then find your only quotes are not what you wanted to say?

6)  Are you financially secure enough to take time away from your job for several months?

7) Would you be willing to accept sometimes-stinging criticism regarding the way you look, the way you dress, and the way you talk?

8) Can you spend hours on the telephone-begging friends for money?

9) Are you capable of developing a two minute and a three minute talk, each summarizing your life experience, your viewpoint on the major issues, and why you feel you are the best suited for the office you are seeking?

10) How would you accept victory…and defeat?

These are a few of the questions that a prospective candidate for elected office should answer before telling the world they are running for the position. The wise prospective candidate would also want to seek the professional advice of a political consultant to evaluate the office, their qualifications, and ask for a candid assessment of their chances for success. Keeping in mind, that just as an attorney who represents him or herself has a fool for a client, the same could be said for a political candidate who wants to run their own campaign.

What the candidate should expect from their consultant varies, but at a minimum services should include developing a written Campaign Plan which outlines the strategies and tactics, a timetable, a budget, issues, and overall objectives. The consultant, on the other hand should expect the candidate to be willing to seek professional advice and counsel.

Running for elected political office can be an exciting and challenging adventure, but it’s always more rewarding to run the next time as the incumbent. Keep that in mind before you make the final decision.

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