Outwork the Incumbent


If you're a challenger facing an entrenched incumbent, one of the keys to victory will be outworking your opponent. Often when you read analyses of incumbents losing an election, one of the primary reasons is that he was outworked: he started campaigning too late, he didn't raise enough money or he didn't come home from D.C. often enough to be active in his district. 

There are a few areas you'll need to outwork him:


The incumbent is going to have an advantage in fundraising, even if he's lazy about it. Donors tend to give to they guy they think will win, and incumbents usually win. You'll have to create a finance plan, gather lists of potential donors and, most importantly, dedicate time to getting on the phones and calling to ask for money.


Few challengers win without hitting a lot of doors. And most winning challengers will remind you how many doors they hit over the course of the campaign. It's generally over 10,000. Part of your campaign plan should prioritize which precincts you want to hit and which voters in those precincts are relevant. Then schedule time to hit the doors, and follow through.


Challenge candidates often get free media to make up for the amount of money they don't have to spend on mail pieces. Get creative and put some effort into your platform, your events and announcements and your research. The more you know about your district and why you're running, the more opportunities you'll see for earned media. 

If you would like to get more campaign tips, you can check out "Running for Officemagazine, subscribe to the blog or connect with me on twitter or LinkedInYou can also get an campaign tips emailed to you once a week by signing up to to the right of this post.