I know our wonderful blog owner Craig did it, someone else among the commentariat did it, and I did it. We have run for elected office. Have any of you run for office? Have any of you gotten to know a politician real well? Personal, drink with her in her office alone talking about life? Up close and sitting with them through a rerun of My Mother the Car while talking shop talk about the current session? Hold their phone while they are occupied by very personal business on the can?
Okay, my guess is many of you know at least one politician, and probably two more. But from that do you know what it takes to be a politician? On the phone
begging dialing for dollars type know? Sitting at midnight in the campaign headquarters sticking stamps on the last mailing on the Thursday before the Tuesday, often with at least one bottle of Dr. Beam or Bombay Sapphire, drained and the stress of months of running for office easing away.
It is tough being a politician at any level. You have put your life out there for all to look at, with opponents and outside groups ready to make you into the worse than worst human on earth, and a media very interested in who you were dating in high school. You have to have some very strong brass, or at least delusional enough to think you do.
Politicians do not need to be people people. I know a few who, if you met them, you would punch them in the mouth for just taking up space on earth. What they had was a great campaign staff, a staff that never allowed their candidate out alone in public, let alone walk doors.
But most electeds are people people. They enjoy meeting people and want to do what is right for their constituents and the district they represent. They work hard year around. They do enjoy the job they do, even if it is only “part-time.” Many do not mind campaigning, it may be the only time they get out of the “office.” Many hate campaigning — people can be a pain in the butt.
But almost none of the politicians I know enjoy spending everyday asking for money. It becomes a second sentence when you meet someone. “Hi, my name is Sally Goodseat, I am running for office. Nice to meet you, please donate to my campaign so I can make the world better.” It is the candidate who raises the money. The campaign works hard at parties and on the phone, but an ask from the candidate is always best.
Right now we are getting ready for 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 . . .
If you are running for 2014 right now you are putting the final people in place on your top staff. You are reaching out to anyone you know and asking for $100, more is better, less will do.
Preferably a lot more, even max out early (that also keeps them from changing their mind and donating to your opponent). You are arranging lists of everyone you know, think you know and wish you knew. Lists for money. Lists for parties, fundraising parties. Lists for contacts. Lists for more lists.
You are starting a path which ends in eleven months. It is a winner take all ending too. You don’t get anything if you lose, except a notice by your name when you (if you) run again, that you ran and lost before. At the end you don’t sleep, you are always working on more votes. Oh those voters. They must want you to win.
For those of you who do not know a politician up close and personal, you should. Why are they running? Truth is a few are running because someone was tired of their constant bitching about how wrong things are and told her “you should run for office.” Does he have an answer about how to fix the issues? Usually not, but they are there anyway. They are up there on the dais, clueless about everything, except they are P.O.’d about the world and there are people in the same way.
Most are running because they want to make a better community, county, state or country. Running for office is just a natural part of who they are. Just as veterinarians know they going to be animal doctors, politicians know they should be taking care of the peoples business.
Having been deep into politics at the local (I ran for at-large council member), county, state and federal offices I have a lot of knowledge about those who run for office. I have friends in politics at all levels (political friends are different from your neighbor friends). But, you need friends to win and get things done. You make a lot of friends in politics, you only make a handful of friends who know your first name and can rely on you to help them get something done at an event. Something like asking the “spontaneous” question when they need to make a statement. Or ask the last question. Nothing like being able to answer the last question, especially if it is yours.
If you do not know a politician get to know one now. Check with your local political office, often the county party. Volunteer to help at the office. Volunteer to help your local elected or the one you want to win. Do you want to be a politician? Volunteering is the best way to get the hands on experience you need to run for any office. AND, you gain the contacts you need.
Right now you can write a check and volunteer. The volunteer time needed right now is low, so you can help with the basics. Any politician will appreciate the money and the help right now. That includes politicians who have not announced yet. As long as they do not spend money to advertise they can do many things for setting up their campaign. Volunteer now and begin a wild ride.
– Blue Bronc is a Trail Mix Contributor