Am I Ready to Run? by Martin Garcia

By at August 15, 2013 | 4:40 pm | Print

Am I Ready to Run? by Martin Garcia

Martin Garcia

Becoming a candidate is no small undertaking.

Before any runner steps up to the starting blocks, there are months and months of preparation done to ensure they are ready. The same goes for deciding to run for office. However, instead of time trials and workouts you will need to assess yourself both personally and politically before becoming a candidate.

I give huge kudos and admire anyone who is willing to consider becoming a candidate and running for public office. On one hand it provides you an amazing opportunity to serve and make a difference in your community, state or even this nation. However, it does have a substantial impact on your life and life of the people around you, so make sure you consider a few things before stepping up to the starting line as a candidate.

First and foremost you should ensure that your family and friends are in complete support of you, especially your significant other, if there is one. These people will be your first supporters, donors, volunteers, and reality checks to keep you grounded. After you have them on board there are a few other “becoming a candidate” boxes you need to check off:

• Are you financially stable? Can you afford to run and take time off work to campaign?

• How’s your health? Canvassing is not for the faint-hearted.

• Are you willing to ask close family and friends for help? If they won’t support your candidacy then good luck getting other people on board.

• What are you potential negatives? Make sure you take a good look at those skeletons in your closet.

• Do you meet the qualifications for office? Just because you want to be President doesn’t mean you can.

• What does your public profile look like? Take a minute and Google yourself right now… is it what you expected?

• What is motivating you to run? Spoiler alert: to see your name on a billboard is not a good enough reason.

• Can you raise the necessary money? You’ll need to get over any fear of asking for money real quick.

In addition to taking a good hard look in the mirror, you will also need to analyze the current political landscape. This will help you figure out if this is the best seat and time for you to run.

The most important thing to know is whether or not you are even a viable candidate to run for office. Do you have an actual chance of running a good campaign and a path to being victorious? If the answer is no, then save us all the time and don’t run. However, if you meet all the personal qualifications and have a sound plan, then proceed.

You will also want to look to see if this race is the best opportunity for you and what you want to accomplish. Do you fit the demographics of the district, or are you a conservative Republican in a highly Democratic place? Is this an open seat, or is there a long-term incumbent that everyone has tried to beat with little success?

Have you done your own politics? Before becoming a candidate, you will need to reach out to party leaders, other elected officials, community leaders and activists, major political donors before you run to see if you will have the political support you need (or can at least overcome it) in order to win.

Lastly, make sure that you are getting a full picture of what is happening, not just with your race but the whole election. What else is on the ballot? Is this a Presidential election so more people will turnout? Is it a special election so turnout will be very low? What current issues are filling up the airwaves and what are your stances on them? You will need to factor all of these things into your plan and decision to run.

Being an elected official can be a great opportunity and an amazing experience, but in order to get there you need to be elected first. So make sure you know all the facts about yourself and your district and what it will mean to be a candidate.

So do you think you’re ready?


Martin Garcia, Account Manager, The Campaign Workshop; a full-service political consulting firm that specializes in direct mail, print and online advertising for issue advocacy, candidate and ballot initiative campaigns. Prior to joining the The Campaign Workshop, Martin worked at Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund and Institute where he coordinated candidate endorsements, and advised and provided resources to campaigns throughout the country.

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