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3 Must-Do's Before You Run

I attended a seminar this past weekend called, “How to run for an elected office.” I attend these types of events, not because I have political aspirations, but because these seminars give me a greater insight into my ideal client’s needs. I’m always looking for new ways to help political candidates create and launch successful campaigns. I also get to meet more of these passionate, cause-driven, civic-minded, and intelligent people who choose to lead.

An organization called Building Influences presented the event. Linda Thornton Thomas created Building Influences, to find and mentor, “…promising politicians with qualities that are backed by skills, experiences, intelligence, integrity, and instincts—all combined together to achieve the ultimate goal—a mandate for effective, accountable, and transparent governance with regulatory reforms as needed for one’s community.”

Ms. Thomas has a political background and is a Constituent Services Consultant based in Prince George’s County.

Here are a few of the insightful takeaways presented during the seminar:

Don’t Tell—Yet.

When you decide to run for office, don’t tell people right away. There’s much to do before you launch your campaign with a public announcement. Besides, if others, namely your opposition knows about your intent, they have time to develop a strategy against you, such as delving into your background before you have time to scrub unmentionables. Take the time to research, get your team on board, and build your own strategy before you utter a word to people outside of your trusted circle.

Get Visible—Now.

If you sincerely want effect change in and around your community, get busy doing it years (not months or weeks) before you announce your candidacy. Get visible around the community immediately. When people see you organizing events, attending school board meetings, going to new business grand openings, writing opinion pieces, they’ll perceive you as being a caring activist before you proclaim the notion. Without developing a consistent and longstanding presence in the community, you’ll get slapped with a bad reputation. You’ll be seen as an opportunist. Your last-minute type actions won’t appear genuine, no matter your intent for your future constituents.

Research Money—Options.

It takes a lot of money to run a campaign. On average, you’ll need $50K to run as a Delegate, $75K to run as a state senator, and well over $200K to run for Congress. It’s challenging but not impossible to raise that kind of funding. With time, a good team, and a great strategy on your side, you can exceed your campaign funding goals.

These are just a few of the takeaways. For more information about Linda Thomas’ “Building Influences,” her constituent services, contact her at

For more information about planning your communications strategy and campaign launch video, contact Service. Ideas. Action. Troop Public Relations.