After I purchased a home and settled down in a city, I realized that my local elections mattered more than ever. In addition to dictating my property taxes and the overall health of our city roads, those elections might also determine the quality of the city website, irrigation system, and even our water rights for the year. Instead of simply ignoring the elections and focusing on my personal life, I started analyzing the local politics and reading up on the candidates. It took a lot of work, but eventually I felt comfortable with my choice of candidate. I want others to understand local elections, which is why this entire blog is about government and politics.
When you have made the choice to run your very first political campaign, the experience can seem exciting at first. However, as time wears on, you will find that mounting a solid campaign can also be stressful and difficult. If you want to be victorious, you need to be able to focus on the right things and avoid mistakes that can derail your campaign. Here are some mistakes to stay away from if you want to win your race.
Veering from Message
Like every politician, you will have a core message that will encourage and resonate with voters so that they choose you when they walk into their polls. However, because you are so often saying the same things, the temptation to veer away from your message can be strong.
You might want to stop talking about jobs, for example, and start talking about a pet issue that many voters are not interested in. As a result, many voters may miss out on what they need to hear in order to vote for you. Stick with your message every time in public so that everyone knows what you support.
Thinking it Will Be Easy to Beat an Incumbent
In fact, as recently as 2014, most incumbent Congress members were able to retain their seats. No matter how awful the incumbent may be, they are likely to have more experience than you and may have a stronger organization in place as a result of their office and the support of their party behind them. Don't expect that you'll have an easy time, or you may find yourself losing on voting day.
Using Social Media Poorly
You might not use the internet often yourself, but be aware that many of your constituents do. You may assign a few staff members to run your social media profiles, but make sure you monitor them yourself regularly. Stay away from bad jokes, irrelevant postings and petty insults that you have to delete later. Social media can give you a direct link to voters, so make sure you use it to give them a real feel for your personality and what you stand for.
On the flipside, just as it is not a good idea to neglect or forget about social media during your campaign, it is just as bad to neglect direct mailing pieces, brochures, flyers and traditional campaign materials. Make sure your campaign is healthy both online and offline.
Now that you know what pitfalls to stay away from as you mount your first campaign, use the information above to help you. Consult with political consultants, such as The Action Company, who can advise you during your next campaign.