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  • Writer's pictureLauren Hooker

Before Running for Office

The path to becoming a public servant is not always a walk in the park for most people. Campaigning is not only a full-time job in itself, but it’s also is a huge financial commitment. However, if you succeed, it can provide rewarding experiences by helping people within your community.

If you’re considering running for office in Arkansas, you might want to ask yourself a few simple questions and run through this checklist first.

1. Why am I running for office?

This might seem like an easy question, but you’d be surprised how many people stumble on this when asked. First, try to put why you’re running for office in a statement to help determine what your views might be. This will help you better articulate your message to voters.

  • What about the current office holder are you unhappy with?

  • How can you do a better job?

  • What do you want voters to know about you?

  • What is your message?

2. Have I done my research?

It’s always a good idea to stay ahead of any possible crisis. Make sure you research aspects of your personal life along with your opponent’s before running. You never want anything harmful to come out once you have filed to run.

  • Clear up any financial and legal issues you might have (foreclosures, lawsuits, etc.)

  • Has there been support of certain issues or donations made to candidates in the past?

  • Do you meet the qualifications to run? (do you meet residency requirements, etc.) Are you up to date on current ethics and campaign finance laws in your state?

3. Update your information

You will need an updated biography for your press release to announce your intentions to run. Updating family pictures and getting professional headshots are always a good idea so that you can use them for campaign advertising, including mail pieces, push cards and social media.

  • Does your bio lay out why you are qualified to hold this position?

  • Are your photos high resolution and usable on campaign literature?

  • Is your personal social media up to date with your basic background information that you would want people to know?

4. Fundraise

One of the most integral parts of your campaign will be your ability to raise money. For a successful campaign, you will likely need to buy signs, push cards and send out mail pieces. This is a huge financial commitment, so unless you decide to use your personal finances, you need to get comfortable with the idea of asking people for money.

  • Have you prepared a written budget outlining potential expenses and showing the amount you will need to raise?

  • Do you have a list of personal contacts you can ask for a donation?

  • Have you set up a campaign bank account you can legally deposit funds into?

  • Have you registered for your financial disclosure database?

5. Social media audit

Social media has completely changed the game of politics. A simple 140 characters are all it takes for someone to use that as a direct quote. A simple rule: If you don't want it to be reported in a newspaper, don’t post it on social media.

  • If you don’t have a campaign Facebook, Twitter or Instagram account, go ahead and create one

  • Add new pictures and logos to your pages

  • Update your biography on your social media platforms along with a link to your website (if you have one)

  • Post issues that are important to you and your voters

  • Do an audit for controversial posts

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