Monday, June 24, 2013
There are 415 days before the Kansas Democratic primary. Democrats wanting to replace Sam Brownback as Governor, Jeff Colyer as Lieutenant Governor, Kris Kobach as Secretary of State, Derek Schmidt as Attorney General, or Ron Estes as Treasurer need to start doing their homework now. Also Insurance Commissioner is up for election. Sandy Praeger's final term is up, and the Kansas City Star opines that she no longer fits into today's more radicalized Republican Party. Also up are the 125 seats in the Kansas House, where the GOP leads 92 to 125
Whether you want to run for a statewide office or for a House seat, now is the time to start building your team. Loyal Democrats tend to head up the county organizations. Some of these local party operations are well organized but most are not. Do not be discouraged. Your job between now and then, especially in the House Districts is to build your team, and you have time.
An effective way to make sure you have great contact information for the Democratic and Unaffiliated voters in your district is to go out and speak with them. While you are going through this introductory phase of your campaign put the focus on the voters, find out what their interests are. When they begin to realize that you'll go to Topeka and work for them and not just the rich people or the corporations then they are going to remember who you are.
One big mistake candidates make, and they tend to do this because they are desperate for money to run the campaign, is the nonstop request for money. Politicians sound like tired kids demanding candy in the checkout lines of the local grocery store. Don't lead with a fundraising component. But ask if they are on Facebook or Twitter. Get their information and friend or invite them. If not ask for the email so you can stay in touch.
One county chairman, an old timer who has served a decade or more in this role, after absolving himself of all responsibility for the defeat of all Democratic candidates asked if it would be alright to mail all the Democrats in the county a letter asking for their phone numbers. No, I wanted to scream. Get off your lazy keister and go knock on doors, I wanted to interject. But something in Scripture about casting pearls before swine ran through my mind.
If you want to run for office you need to go knock doors. You will others who will work for your campaign. Here's an idea. If you have a bunch of go-getters on your team why not have them file to run for the committeemen and committeewomen positions on your county's central committee. This way you have your team making the whole party stronger.
Don't forget to ask if there are additional unregistered voters at the house. Our numbers tend to take a dive when it comes to younger voters. By getting the social networking and email contact information in your database you are better poised to reach these new voters.
So you think you want to run for office? That's great, now go start talking to people. Tell them who you are and what bothers you about state government. Ask them what bothers them. Take notes. Find out who is on your central committee and introduce yourself to them. Start attending their meetings. Get a Facebook and a Twitter set up to explore your candidacy. If in doubt what to do next, go knock on a door in your district.