Political candidates can increase name recognition and establish credibility and by winning endorsements. While the value of endorsements in gaining votes is debatable, some endorsements can bring particular benefits.
For example, local unions, community groups, or political parties that have not put up a candidate may choose endorse someone else who is running. Sometimes an organization will approach a candidate, but often a candidate will need to seek out endorsements. Most organizations will have a specific process to follow. A candidate may need to write out a questionnaire about the issues related to the organization in order to be considered for an election endorsement.
Take the initiative to contact these organizations early in the race. A candidate should start with a letter explaining who they are, along with reasons why their positions on the relevant issues make them someone the organization should endorse. They should be prepared to follow up with personal phone calls.
Some organization endorsements can be very valuable, as they can carry with them additional campaign support, including contributions, phone banks, volunteers, GOTV efforts and more.
Even individuals can make endorsements. For state or national campaigns, celebrities sometimes go public with whom they support.
For judicial candidates, in particular, the backing from professional organizations can be helpful.
On a local level, personal endorsements often come in the form of letters to the local newspaper. It’s likely an endorsement from well-known local citizens can carry more weight with local voters than the backing by some big-name, out-of-town celebrity.
Endorsements from local newspapers can also be influential to voters. If an Editorial Board invites local candidates for an interview, they should be aware of issues that the board might choose to cover. A candidate should be ready to clearly and succinctly state their positions. Even if a candidate does not win a newspaper’s endorsement in one election cycle, he or she may get that endorsement the next time around.
Of course, an election can be won without a single endorsement. Political endorsements are not considered a sure sign of success. But in a tight race, the financial and organizational help that comes with one can make all the difference.
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