When potential political candidates go through the process of deciding whether or not they want to run a campaign for office, there are several factors they usually take into account: their chances of winning; how much money they will need to raise; whether they are qualified for the seat they are seeking.
There’s one important factor that you should never forget to include when considering a run for office, though: the many sacrifices you’ll have to make to launch an effective political campaign.
If you plan on running your campaign the right way, then you’ll find that there are many important things in your life that you will have to give up or significantly cut back on. A political campaign, even if it’s a small city council race, has a way of demanding a much larger amount of attention and care than you might realize.
Daily door-to-door campaigning, phone calls, letter writing, fundraising and voter research are just some of the tasks that you’ll have to juggle in order to run an effective political campaign. And while candidates in larger races can count on many volunteers to help with a lot of the work, smaller races don’t often attract much volunteer help.
That’s right: there’s a distinct possibility that you might have to do everything yourself. And that means one thing: sacrifices.
The amount of time you have to spend with your family, your privacy and your effectiveness at work are all things that can be effected by running for office. It’s important that you consider each of the sacrifices you’ll have to make as a candidate, and ask yourself if you’re prepared for the commitment.
If you honestly feel that you can’t shoulder the sacrifices that are necessary to run for office, then you might want to consider bowing out and attempting to run in the future when you can commit more resources to the campaign.
Very few candidates are able to run for office under pristine circumstances that allow them to dedicate 100 percent of their attention to the campaign. I doubt there are many candidates who don’t have families, jobs and other obligations to worry about.
In the end, a successful political candidate also needs to be a good juggler. It will never be the “perfect time” for you to run for office, but you do need to ensure that you’re ready to juggle every one of the obligations in your life along with the campaign.
We’ve said it before: running for office isn’t nearly as important as your family, your job and your happiness. If being a candidate is going to threaten any of these, then you shouldn’t run for office, period.