Running for Office – Why You Might Want to and How to Do It

Running for Office - Why You Might Want to and How to Do It

( – If you’re politically engaged, there’s a good chance you’ve given some consideration to the idea of running for office, even if only in passing. Becoming an elected representative is one of the most rewarding things anyone can do in America, but it can be difficult to know where to start.

We’ve looked into the process in detail, and here’s what we’ve found.

How to Run for Office

The process of running for elected office differs depending on the position you’re seeking. As you might imagine, the higher the office, the more barriers there are to participation.

If you want to run for President, you must be a natural-born citizen of the US who has resided in the country for 14 years. You must also be at least 35 years of age. Practically speaking however, you’ll need a lot more than that. You’ll need millions of dollars in campaign financing to have even the slightest chance of success. Running for US Congress is also a lofty pursuit for a new entrant to the world of politics.

For most people, running for a local or state office is a more sensible goal, at least for first-time candidates. No matter what office you hope to seek, a good place to start is the local branch of your party, if you belong to one. There, you should find guidance around campaign finance, voter demographics, and strategies that have worked in that voter area in the past.

Local and state elections don’t involve as much mud-slinging as national races. However, you’re still putting yourself in the public eye, and you can never trust a political opponent not to fight dirty. Make sure your family is comfortable with this type of exposure, and be ready to deal with questions about any skeletons that might be in your closet. The more prominent the position or controversial the issues involved, rest assured your opponent will dig as deep as is needed to find those bones.

Why You Might Want to Run for Office

Each person’s motivation for undertaking a political campaign varies. Some candidates feel strongly about a given cause or issue and hope to effect change. Others want the status and power that come with a career in politics. Still, others just want what’s best for their community and feel they’re well-positioned to deliver it.

Whatever your reasons, if you have a strong understanding of policy and administration, along with a genuine interest in doing an effective job, you’ll make a good elected official.

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