Bob's Words of Wisdom News

Get Involved Politically – Step up to the Plate and Take a Swing at Getting Elected

We are providing a road map for future legislators

How do we find the people who will run for the legislature and become a part of the solution for our state government? The answer is not that simple because the brightest of any potential candidates will not want to put themselves or their families in the political fishbowl where you become a target for the lobbyist run liberal media. The Ideal candidates are people who run their own businesses, are retired or independently wealthy men or women who can afford to take off for 3 to 4 months a year so they can serve in the legislature. I will tell you these people will be as scarce as “Hen’s Teeth” but we know you are out there and just need the encouragement of fellow conservatives to step to the plate and take a swing at being elected.

To win a race today you need to be willing to go door to door and meet the people from your district that you will represent. You can also hold town halls where you can give your constituents an opportunity to know what your platform is all about. I know this works as it worked for me when I ran for republican precinct committeeman against a longtime incumbent and friend of Governor Otter. In fact, the Governor actually came out and went door to door campaigning for his good friend. My district was very compact within one square mile so it took four or five of my weekends to visit all 1,200 homes. It did pay off as once I won it was easier to win the 2nd and 3rd time and cost me virtually nothing more than time, a strong platform, and a good printer to make up my material to be distributed. Most of those who choose to run will have to cover a much large area and will need a group of citizens to help them with their cause but if the people really want change you will find little trouble assembling a cadre of helpers.

In the last nine years, I have counseled many politicians who have run for office both constitutional and legislative. I have been brutally honest with each of them in letting them know if they had a good enough platform and network of helpers to win. Many of them are still in office and are working hard to turn this state around. The problem is they need a lot of help. Our thanks to Secretary of State Lawerence Denney who has been instrumental in making it easier for aspiring candidates to file the proper papers and get started on their journey to become a candidate for legislative office. Here is the link that you need to go to.

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Once your decision is made you must assemble a group of individuals interested in supporting you in this venture. You will need to find those willing and able to spend a substantial amount of time in being your support group, help you formulate a winning campaign strategy, and raise money to run your campaign. Here are a few ideas on what you should need to do before putting together a campaign strategy.

Most important of all, pick a trusted person who will study and understand campaign finance rules to be your Treasurer.

  1. Study your competition: Learn about their educational and previous political background.
  2. Find out how they have voted on important bills while in office. Look at similarities of the bills they have voted for to see what type of bill they favor.
  3. Go to the Secretary of State Finance database below to see who has contributed to their campaign in the past and how much was contributed.
  4. Talk to people in your district especially businesses that are affected by legislative changes particularly in taxation and new rules and regulations.
  5. Set up a strong website where people can go to find out why you are running and what you stand for. It is also a great place for them to leave messages and comments along with making donations. If you need help in finding someone to set up a site please let us know and we will try to send you in the right direction.
  6. Prepare a strong resume of your past history in education, job experience, and any clubs or political organizations you might belong to.
  7. Build a cadre of campaign helpers who are willing to go door to door, put up signs, help at events and make phone calls to potential voters.

If you have made your decision to run for election one of the first things you need to know is what do the people want in your district want or need when it comes to our state government. Attending monthly meetings held by the local government agencies can be very helpful. This is where many of your future constituents will come to complain to local officials about things they are concerned about. It also means taking the time to visit with people in your district to find out what their concerns are. Once you know the problems you need to sit down and try to figure out how you as a member of the legislature could help solve those problems. When you have come up with some solutions you believe are plausible go back to the people and give them the specifics of your plan and ask for their input and help in working for your campaign. A good campaign starts with a strong knowledge of not only the needs of your constituents but also what is bothering them the most. It is not always easy to recruit people for the campaign of a new candidate but if they care enough to listen they will care enough to work with you.

Raising money to run a campaign is always an issue but if done properly a strong campaign can be run on a shoestring and be as valid and competitive as one run with big lobbyist money. One of the most important things you have to learn as a candidate is not to be afraid to ask for donations. This is the Achilles heel of most new candidates who have never run for office before and can bring a winning campaign to a screeching halt. Know beforehand which corporate entities you will ask for money to help finance your campaign and have knowledge of the issues that concern them so you can connect with them on those issues. Even if a business or corporate entity has given to your opposition in the past it does not mean they will not spread the wealth if they like what you have to say and think they can hedge their bet on the winner. There is no need to make promises you can’t keep but it is important that they know they will have your ear if you are elected. If you want to find out who donated to your competition you can go to the Idaho government web site to find out who and how much they donated in the last election and even solicit funds from their previous donors.

Personal donations from friends, family and the general public are often going to be the mainstay of a new candidate this is where a website with a donation button is helpful. Many will be able to enlist the help of those where they attend church with or organizations of which you are a member. You must remember that you don’t need to break the bank to win an election you only need to get your salient points across to you’re the public. If you have the right message the money will come in all by itself. Be careful about who you get to endorse you as they may have more enemies than friends and your association with them could hurt you. But remember you must be willing to ask for help. Remember that old saying ask and you shall receive.

Good luck to anyone willing to jump into the frying pan; we would be happy to hear about your venture.

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