As we start into the season where candidates will be announcing their intentions for the 2010 elections, we wanted to take this opportunity to mention our list of questions that you should answer in our “So You want to be a Candidate” section. Before you decide to run, you should have clear and concise answers to each of these questions. These answers are just as important as your political structure, your fundraising plan, and your campaign strategy. Here are the questions you should be able to answer:
Why do you want to run?
You are going to be asked this over and over, so come up with a good answer. People want to know what kind of person you are and what you stand for. “Cuz I felt like it,” isn’t going to cut it.
How much time do you have to devote to the effort?
Consultants can help you manage your time and use it as efficiently as possible. However, we can’t help if you don’t have time to give. This is an issue that you must talk over with your family as well – campaigning will cut into your personal time. If it doesn’t, you’re doing it wrong.
Are you comfortable asking people for things?
You can’t run for office by yourself. You are going to need volunteers, donors, and endorsements along the way. Asking people for their help and their money is hard, but it is a critical part of the process. If you want to represent people, you have to be comfortable talking to them.
What experience do you have?
Make an inventory of all of the relevant experience that may help you with the position you are running for. People don’t want a resume or a long line of other offices you held, they want to know how you are going to be able to serve them in your elected capacity. It shouldn’t just be about you, it should be about what you can do.
Can you make hard decisions?
Sure, being an elected official is fun when you are out cutting ribbons and shaking hands. However, it’s also some of the hardest work out there and it is fraught with difficult decisions that change lives and impact people. Understanding political reality and still having the courage to make tough decisions is part of what being a leader.
What would a little research tell us about you?
You must be willing to undergo an open and honest assessment of yourself before you are truly able to run for office. Countless candidates have been derailed from successful campaigns because they were unprepared for details revealed through opposition research.