Running for office can be arduous, exhausting and frustrating…if you don’t know how to run a local campaign. And we know that running for office, particularly if it’s your first time, can be overwhelming. But, it doesn’t have to be.  Below are important steps you can take to have an advantage over your opponent.

Let’s talk metrics, here is what you need to know.

How many voters do you need to win an election? Almost every office has a minimum requirement of votes needed to win an election. That’s one number you would need.  You can get that information from your electoral office.  This voter file is of extreme importance, it tells you every registered voter and their party affiliation in your district.

The other number you would need is how many votes have been cast for the winner in previous elections so you have an idea of not just the minimum number of votes needed but how many votes it took to win in previous elections.  You can find that information out at Ballotpedia.

Now, that you have this number you can create your game plan on how to reach out to your voters and engage with them. Where do you spend your time canvassing, calling and mailing to your voters? It’s not enough to just reach out to family and friends, although, that is very effective as one campaign strategy.  Activating voters in your district is essential to winning an election.

Tracking your voters is just as important as registering as a candidate.  If you know who is or isn’t going to vote for you then you know you can spend your time on other voters who are either on the fence or don’t know about your candidacy.

Tracking your voters when you have contacted them and the follow-up needed next is important so you can stay top of mind.  Items to track:

  • Call data – when you called, did you leave a message, did you speak with the voter
  • Email – when did you send an email, which email did you send, did it bounce back to you
  • Text – did you send a text, did the voter unsubscribe
  • Canvassing – did you visit their home, did you talk with them, did you leave any information
  • Follow-up – what is the next point of contact with your voter and what kind – voice, email, text, visit

Create Your Messaging

Now that you have your voter file and you know who to reach out to, what is the message you are going to deliver?

You have to tell your own story…WHY are you running, what value will people voting for you get when you’re elected.  Your message has to be clear and concise so it is easy for your constituents to understand quickly.

You need to have three primary points you hammer home.  Tell them about yourself, about your life and why you believe what you do. Voters don’t care about your resume, voters want to relate to you on their own level – story points, family, hobbies, military service, etc. – focus on three and hammer them home.

Spending Time and Money

You have your message and you know who your voters are and now it’s time to engage them. According to political consultant, Phil Van Treuren, you should be walking so much canvassing you should have to throw your shoes away after election day.

When you talk with your constituents remember to ask them to vote for you and get their agreement. This way will be able to record if they are or aren’t going to vote for you and know your follow-up path.

It goes without saying that having a presence on the web is instrumental. That includes a website and a presence on social media.  We are in the digital age now and need to be where are constituents are and they are, for the most part, on social media.

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Linkedin are all relevant social sites.  If you have to choose which sites to be on, choose Facebook and Instagram.  Run ads to targeted audiences in your district and have a call to action to donate, learn more or click Like to show their support of your campaign.

Post about relevant issues you are addressing, your message and your story. Remember to drive home the value your constituents will receive if they vote for you. Make your message easy and simple to understand.

With three weeks before the election you have plenty of time to make an impact on your voters. Canvass, call, email and text coupled with an informative website and active social campaigns will help reach as many voters as you can.

If you’d like a free e-book of Five Steps To Win Your Election click here.

Becky Creighton is Director of Partnerships for Handraiser, a political campaign software that helps candidates track voters, provide communication channels between the candidate and voter and manages volunteers and canvassing efforts. You may reach her at