The Campaign Manager: Running and Winning Local Elections

By Catherine M. Shaw | Go to book overview

11
The Candidate
In this chapter
The Lay of the Land
Packaging the Candidate
Stay on Your Message
Avoid Telling Lies
Outsider's Campaign Versus Incumbent's Campaign
Your Opponent At
Debates
Fielding Negative Questions
Developing Your Public Speaking Skills
Write-in and Third Party Candidates
Media and the Candidate
Thank-you Notes

Once you declare your intention to run for office, you become part of the public domain. You are fair game for just about any criticism people might feel inclined to level at you. Should someone write a letter with an outright lie in it, you essentially have little recourse. You can defend, but you cannot sue. Some political analysts think candidates should ignore attacks and lies. However, far more think that unanswered allegations imply truth. Either way such attacks are a problem. You can defend yourself, but when you decide to run, you give up your right to whine. It is great preparation for office.

This chapter is about projecting a positive image before the voters and thereby minimizing the potential nit-picking that the public might do. You will also find suggestions on how to redirect negative questions at your opponent, turning the ammunition back on that person. As a candidate, this is not a time to be defensive. Take criticism as a gift and an opportunity.

"Any good politi-
cian knows
what's good for
the community is
good for him or
her."
-- Rick Shaw

Prior to declaring my intention to run for mayor, I was at a picnic with my family in a nearby city. The Historic Society was sponsoring the event on a glorious summer evening on the lawn in front of a 100-year-old museum. The speaker was the secretary of state, who

-205-

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The Campaign Manager: Running and Winning Local Elections
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Tables and Illustrations xi
  • Preface xv
  • How to Use This Handbook 1
  • 1 - The Campaign Team 5
  • 2 - The Campaign Brochure. 17
  • 3 - The Volunteer Organization 35
  • 4 - Fund-Raising 49
  • 5 - Lawn Signs 91
  • 6 - Precinct Analysis 99
  • 7 - Canvassing 125
  • 8 - Getting-Out-The-Vote (Gotv) 137
  • 9 - Direct Mail 159
  • 10 - Media 171
  • 11 - The Candidate 205
  • 12 - The Issue-Based Campaign 235
  • 13 - The Campaign Flowchart 249
  • 14 - After the Ball 255
  • Afterword 257
  • Appendix 1 - Forms for Photocopying 259
  • Appendix 2 - The State Initiative and Referendum Process 271
  • Appendix 3 - Directory of Campaign Web Sites and Other Resources 277
  • Index 281
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