Run for Office

101 Steps to Victory

We can help you get your campaign
off to the right start

If you want to run for office but you don't know how to get started, we can help. We can guide you through the legal filing requirements and get you connected with volunteers, donors and campaign advisors. We provide classroom instruction on how to use voter data for smarter targeting, and even how to talk to voters.

  • Campaigns are won by candidates — not yard signs, secret plans or fancy consultants.
  • The best candidate usually wins, given adequate funding. Your candidacy is defined by how prepared you are, how focused you are and how you conduct yourself over the course of your campaign.
  • Many candidates can’t articulate a compelling reason for running. Focus first on why you are running and then turn your attention to how you are going to win.
  • You will need to raise money. Asking for financial support is the one thing every candidate hates, but you cannot win without money for voter contact. You have to budget for direct mail, canvassing supplies, signs and digital media. The money won't come easy, but you can improve your results with the right approach.

If you are thinking about running for public office, contact us at chair@mchenrydems.org


We can train you

Democrats and Republicans really are different. It really does matter who wins, because our community and our nation are guided by the decisions made by human beings called politicians. Those politicians start out as candidates, and they are elected by other human beings who vote based on the limited information they have about the candidates. It's far from a perfect process, as evidenced by the last presidential election.

If we want a world shaped by our progressive values of equality of opportunity, respect for diversity, and justice for all humankind, then we must live our values. We must choose to fight for what we believe. And that means some of us must run for office, and the rest of us must be prepared to support those who run. In order to be successful, it's imperative that we do it with intelligence and proper grounding in the methods that are proven to work.

Becoming a candidate for public office can be a bewildering experience. There are dozens of books about campaigning, and thousands of “consultants” ready to guide you through the maze of rules and procedures, freshen your image, and teach you to speak with a winning smile. What matters most are the three simple elements of every successful campaign:

  • Know why you are running and be prepared to deliver that message in a way that resonates with voters.
  • Be willing to work hard. Very hard. No one will work harder for your campaign than you are willing to work for yourself.
  • Raise money. Lots of it. You can't get your message out to the voters for free.

Our training classes are designed for candidates at the local level, from municipal to county-wide offices. The methods are the same ones used by the well-financed national campaigns, except that we know you are not running TV ads 24/7 and holding massive rallies. You are talking to voters one at a time, door to door. That's the reality of local politics.

Watch our Events page for training opportunities, or contact vicechair@mchenrydems.org.

The Democratic Party of McHenry County