Pathway to Victory: By The Numbers

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So you’ve decided to run, found a core group of supporters, done your research, and then did even more research. What’s next? Now it’s time to get into some of the nitty gritty details of your campaign – the numbers. This means understanding how to finance your campaign and keep it in compliance with the law.

Keep reading for a few of the tips you’ll find in 101 Steps to Victory: A How-To Guide for First-Time Political Candidates. This free e-book outlines the 101 most important things a first-time candidate needs to know to keep their campaign on the path to victory. And check back with the Speakeasier blog in the days and weeks ahead for more of our 101 Steps to Victory.

Okay, are you ready to run?

The next step is to go to your local elections department website and get a list of all the key dates and tasks. This includes the filing deadlines for candidates to express interest, fundraising reporting deadlines, and more.

Invest in a simple calendar program and enter all the key dates.

Just make sure this calendar syncs with your phone, computer, etc.

Now recruit a campaign treasurer.

Recruit wisely. This person will keep you out of jail. A lawyer is good. An accountant is good. Your spouse or a friend who once ran for 11th grade vice president is not necessarily so good.

Do the hard — but vitally important — work of understanding compliance.

Read the laws with your treasurer. Understand them. If you don’t understand them, ask your local elections officials to explain them to you. Did we say this is important? It is really important.

“Compliance” usually means not taking contributions in excess of the legal limit and not using campaign funds for personal expenses. It always means having the proper “disclaimers” on your campaign materials showing who paid for them (your campaign). It usually means not coordinating with outside groups. And as far as we know, every candidate in America must regularly file disclosure papers with their local elections officials saying how much they raised and spent. This is NOT a complete list. Get the list from your local elections official and memorize it (please) and put all the key dates down. You will thank us later. 

PRO TIP: When you’re organizing your internal kitchen cabinet, find ten people who are positive and ready to work — a trusted friend, family member, local community leader. The more that the group represents the diversity of your district, the better the insight it will offer you. 

Looking for more information about what it takes to run for office? Download our e-book designed to walk candidates through the process of running – and winning – their first political campaigns. And be sure to check out more from our Pathway to Victory series!

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