(with thanks to Down Ticket Dems)
Posted: 17 Sep 2015 08:41 AM PDT
Getting involved in your local or state government is a noble task, and there is a lot of opportunity to do so in down-ticket races. Although there can be many to choose from and it’s a great opportunity to get involved, you’ll want to keep some things in mind before jumping into your down-ticket race.
§ Your race is not as sexy as you think. Down-ticket races aren’t premiere races in states or counties. Unfortunately, if you’re running for County Auditor, your race won’t be as watched as, say, the County Commissioners or State Senate race. You won’t be able to get as much attention as other candidates, so you’ll need to get creative in your race.
§ Create innovative strategies. Sometimes in a crowded field and in a down-ticket race, you’ll need to do innovative things to stand out among your competitors and other down-ticket races. Build lists around issues, rallies, and build relationships with the press to get some good earned media.
§ You still (and always) need to raise money. Just because you’re running a down-ticket race doesn’t mean you can ride the coattails of your fellow party office-goers. When you raise money, you bring legitimacy to your candidacy and you can spend more on digital, mail, and field. Also, if you have a decent amount of money, you can help out some of your fellow office-goers from your party, again bringing more clout to your candidacy.
§ Don’t rely on others. Too many candidates that are running in down-ticket races always rely on other candidates running for major offices to do the hard work for them. Unfortunately, things don’t always work out as planned in local or statewide politics; an office holder endorses another candidate, your opponent gets a big donation, etc. Always look out for your own campaign when running in a down-ticket race.
§ Build more coalitions. Since you won’t raise as much as your top tier races, you’ll want to always build more coalitions. Building coalitions can help put boots on the ground on Election Day and advocate on your behalf.
Remembering these five things can help you stay on track for your down-ticket race. For more information about running for office, download our ebook, Ready, Set Go: Jump-Start Your Political Campaign.
P.S. Remember – yard signs and “chum” don’t vote. Make sure you aren’t spending a large portion of your budget on these items. Focus your budget on voter communication such as direct mail, digital advertisements, or palm cards.
Andrew Collier, Junior Account and Marketing Manager, The Campaign Workshop; a political and advocacy advertising agency in Washington D.C. that provides strategy, digital advertising, direct mail and training services to non-profit and political clients.
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