If you're thinking of running for office for the first time in 2015, the best tip I can give you is to outwork your opponent. Outwork him in fundraising, door to door and in getting yourself some earned media.
Before you decide whether to run, know that campaigning is a full-time commitment. You won't have a lot of time to watch television, you'll fall behind on reading and you won't get a lot of 8+ hour nights of sleep (though I highly recommend reserving a "family night" once a week where campaigning is forbidden).
Voters respond to candidates who work hard. If they see you over and over, or even see you just once or twice at their door, they know you care enough to put some effort into it. Here are a few first-time candidates who won this year - and worked really hard to get there on Election Day.
Andrew Johnson, U.S. House of Representatives, CA-16
"Thanks to his vigorous grass-roots campaign and the perception that Costa is increasingly disconnected from the drought-stricken district, Tacherra has surprised political observers from both parties, offering another sign of hope for Republicans in an already strong election cycle. He credits his tight focus on local issues, persistent outreach to traditionally Democratic constituencies, and tireless campaigning for his victory." Read more via National Review
Melanie Stambaugh, Washington State House of Representatives, District 25
“I hit more than 17,500 doorbells since mid-April,” says Stambaugh, who turned 24 on September 25. Read more via Seattle Weekly
Saira Blair, West Virginia State House of Delegates, District
“Blair had a small social media presence for the primary. She ran the old-fashioned way, knocking on doors, running print ads and sending out hundreds of handwritten notes.” Read more via NPR
Kristy Pagan, Michigan House of Representatives, District 21
“We built this campaign from the ground up,” said Pagan, who worked nearly two years to clinch victory. “Our campaign was about serving the people and listening to what they need. It’s truly humbling that people have put their trust in me.” Read more via HomeTownLife
Elisa Stefanik, U.S. House of Representatives, NY-21
“She put well over 100,000 miles on that truck...She’d drive five hours to meet with a half a dozen people.” Read more via RealClearPolitics
The lesson is simple: you need to work really hard to get elected.
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