The party won't help you…and neither will the lobbyists

One of the toughest things about running for office is finding help to raise money for your campaign. Often, candidates are recruited by friends involved in politics or by party leadership itself. But when it's time to begin fundraising, those supporters are often far less helpful.

I'll save a discussion about whether the party should be more helpful to local candidates for a another time.

The purpose of this article is to help you understand why they don't help and what to do when this realization sinks in. 

First, I'll address the party. Local county parties generally raise just enough money to keep the doors open. Their money is spent hosting an annual fundraiser, paying to keep a website up and renting an office space for candidates to use. 

What you can expect from the party: they can provide recommendations for who to talk to for donations and who to hire to help you with your campaign. They might give some tips on how to raise money and they'll generally provide their office for anything you need, within reason.

They won't give you $5,000 to start your campaign though. They don't have it. 

Second, the lobbyists. They do have $5,000 to give you to start your campaign. But they won't give it. Lobbyists' job is to pick the winners. And first time candidates aren't the wise bet most of the time. Lobbyists are almost always going to be on the incumbent.

And even if they're open to helping you, they want to know you can help yourself first. They're going to wait back and see if you're willing and able to fundraise, and to see if you're willing and able to work hard. Once you prove yourself to them, they might contribute. 

This may be a bit of harsh realization. But it's important to know. You are responsible for your campaign. The party and the lobbyists are not. Many candidates announce a run, soon realize they're not getting the help they expected and complain bitterly that nobody is helping them. Those candidates generally lose. 

If you truly want to win and are willing to take responsibility for the outcome of your race, there are some simple [but not always easy] ways to start fundraising. Shoot me an email and I'll be happy to pass along some resources. 

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