What if I told you that there was a surefire way for any first-time candidate to win a local political election? It’s the truth: and this campaign secret isn’t a tactic that your opponents are likely to use even if they do know about it.
The secret to winning local elections (races for office like school board, city council and mayor) doesn’t have to do with the message you focus on, the color of your political campaign yard signs or even fundraising efforts. No, it’s nothing as complex as that; in fact, it’s very simple.
Here’s the one thing you need to do in order to be a winning candidate in your local political election: outwork your opponent.
And I don’t mean outworking your local political opponent by only a few degrees; I mean campaigning so hard that you have to throw away your shoes when election season is over. I mean knocking on so many doors in your district that the voters start rolling their eyes when they see you are coming to their house again.
Remember: the harder it is, the better it works in campaigning. That’s really the only advice you need to know in order to run a great local political race for office.
Getting out and knocking on every door in your city is hard. Calling every registered voter is hard. Writing personal cards to thousands of people is hard.
And if you do more difficult things than you opponent does on the campaign trail, and you do it consistently, your chances of winning a local election increase astronomically.
As a first-time candidate for city council, I can remember a question one supporter asked me after I had gone door-to-door in the entire city for a second time (and was gearing up for a third): “That’s great, but don’t you think you’re just doing too much?”
When it comes to local grassroots campaigning, you can’t do too much. Local races don’t come with weekly tracking polls to give you an idea of how you are doing with the voters.
When you’re a political candidate running a campaign for a local election, you have to constantly assume that you are behind your opponent. You have to play a continuous game of catch-up. You have to outwork the competition on all fronts.
Before running my own campaign for local office, I was a political consultant myself, and saw plenty of candidates win and lose races. And the first time I heard a voter tell a candidate that they were “sick” of seeing him so much, I knew he was going to win the race.
So get out there and become the local political candidate that voters are sick of seeing so much. If your opponent is going to start knocking on doors in October, start your door-to-door efforts in March. If the competition is going to make a thousand phone calls, set yourself a goal of 3,000.
Because regardless of what kind of strategy or message or tactics you settle on, that’s the only thing you really need to win a local political election campaign: hard work, and lots of it.