1.) Why do you want to run for office?
This is a big decision. Are you making it for the right reasons? Is your decision because you are drawn to this life? Do you have a plan and goals established? Or are you running because you are reacting to what some other politicians are doing?
2.) Do you know what you are getting yourself into?
Will this office require you to travel extensively? Relocate? Or will you stay local and be able to maintain your home? Will you have to maintain two or more homes? Are you prepared to deal with the requests people will be making of you? Are you prepared to be a public figure? Do you know what it’s like to always have to be “on”? Are you prepared for the media scrutiny that may follow you? Are you prepared for what the opposition might say about you?
3.) Do you know what the job entails?
Sometimes people want to make a difference and find that the office they have chosen to run for may not be the office to actually accomplish what you want to do. There are different branches of government. Do you know what each one does? Please take the time to think about your goals and whether or not your campaign allow you to accomplish those goals.
4.) Do you know how much a campaign will cost?
Running for political office these days costs quite a bit of money. Before you make a decision to run, you should research what typical races similar to yours have cost. This information is available through state and/or city/county websites and a very important part of your research before you make your decision. Also look into what campaign finance laws will impact your campaign. Failure to be compliant has destroyed many campaigns and careers.
5.) Do you know how to raise the funds necessary?
Once you have an idea how much money it will take to run a successful campaign, are you capable and comfortable raising this amount of money? If you can answer yes, you will want to look into making a campaign treasurer one of your first hires. Talk with your strategist about this. Start off and stay compliant!
6.) Will your family support you in this?
A political campaign will place an incredible amount of stress on you and your family. Are you willing to have them endure that stress because of your aspirations? People can be very cruel. Your spouse and even your children may be subject to extreme behavior. Be prepared.
7.) Do you have the time to run?
Are you employed? Self employed? This will make a difference. There will be all kinds of events you will want to attend. Will you have the time to do this? Part of campaigning is walking districts to meet voters. You want to get as much “face-time” with your constituents as possible. Will your job or business allow you to spend the time necessary?
8.) What happens if I win?
Have you thought about what the consequences of winning will be? Are there conflicts of interest with your business? You will want to have a plan to either sell or transfer management of your business in advance.
9.) What happens if I lose?
People rarely think about the consequences of a campaign loss. There may be psychological as well as possible outside consequences. Will business customers or competitors have adverse reactions to you running your campaign? Please think about this before making your decision.
10.) Will I have the support I need?
This is a different kind of support than you might think of at first. Are you well liked enough where people will be willing to volunteer for you? Many of the support systems you need can be hired. Your campaign consultant can assist you in finding many of the campaign support services you will need. But a great group of friends, family and business associates will make a huge difference for you during the course of a campaign.