You Can’t get There from Here by Harry Taylor

By at October 30, 2013 | 11:24 am | Print

You Can’t get There from Here by Harry Taylor

Harry Taylor

Excerpt from You Can’t Get There From Here, Chapter 6, “Hatching a Campaign” when Harry Taylor was considering a run for US Congress in the 9th Congressional District of NC.

I asked Susan if she’d share her thoughts about a possible campaign, she let me know right away that a congressional race could be a rigorous undertaking. Later, she gave me a comprehensive list of questions, prompts, and queries to help me drill down,look inside, and determine if a political race was really something I wanted to pursue.

The questions were useful. What did I hope to accomplish? Is running for public office the only way to accomplish that? What is my “elevator speech?” I had no idea –I didn’t even understand the term, “elevator speech.” But I did know what my concerns and why I wanted to address them. What was my experience with fundraising?  None. Was I willing to use my own money to support the campaign? Susan followed that question with a comment that I shouldn’t use any of my own money. Since I was willing to give a substantial portion of my life to run, others would help fund the effort.  As it turned out, I did put in lots of my own money, funds that will never come back.  Numerous questions about myself – which, after all – I would have to talk about as a candidate. Did I believe I had skills to speak publicly? The questions seemed to lead to a clearer understanding of what I would have to go through, and caused me to look at things I hadn’t thought about. This was going to use up my life, whether I won or not.  The campaign would be extremely demanding in every way. Was I willing and able to commit to it?

By every measure this was new territory for me, an adventure without a known outcome, a comprehensive and difficult challenge. And I was aware that there was a good deal about campaigns I didn’t know. By most accounts, though, that’s probably a healthy way to leave the dock.

The question – the challenge – was, “Where do you start?” A race against an entrenched incumbent in the U.S. House is big, and I had a million questions. Do the party and donors and media immediately descend to offer help, money, or media coverage?  The short answer is that few even seem to notice. It’s you, the candidate, very much alone, wondering what to do next. So how does one who has never been involved, other than knocking on doors and making phone calls for other candidates, start to create a “company” whose sole purpose is to win an election? Who’s available to help? What role does the party play? How do you find people, both paid and volunteer? Where does the money come from? How do you meet voters? What do you say to them?

Purchase the book here

Harry Taylor, a commercial real estate broker in Charlotte, NC. A long time outdoorsmen, musician and activist.  While a passionate believer in our democracy, Harry sees the U.S. falling far short of its promise. Over time he’s learned first-hand that each and every one of us must be knowledgeably involved for democracy to stand a chance against all who would corrupt it.


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