By Courtney Hahn
Whether you are running for a local, state, or nationwide office, it is very important how you run your campaign from the beginning to the last stretch. In this article, we will discuss the 6 most common mistakes candidates make when running a campaign and that candidates must pay close attention to when running. Keeping these 6 common mistakes in mind could be the difference between winning or losing an election.
Here are the 6 Most Common Mistakes Candidates Make:
- Not taking money seriously: One problem candidates make is having little concern with fundraising. Your campaign has no chance of being successful without money. You must start fundraising early enough because, depending on what position you are running for, it can take a good amount of time to raise the money you need for your campaign. A lack of funds can severely hurt your chances of winning in the long run. If you are running for a smaller office, for example school board, it takes far less money than running for a larger office, such as state senate. Spending money inefficiently (Ask Jeb Bush) is also a problem. You must invest your money in the right places of your campaign. Create a set budget, prioritize your money, and stick to it throughout your campaign. The vast majority of candidates underestimate how much they will spend of their funds on the campaign. The last weeks of the race are crucial, so plan accordingly.
- Underestimating your opponents: It is critical that you never underestimate your opponents, especially if you are running against someone already in office and running for reelection. Name recognition is very important in this instance. Voters will cast their vote for someone who they are familiar with or have already heard of. You must never assume you will win, and back down or get comfortable because last minute events or TV ads can make the difference between winning the campaign or losing the campaign. You must never be too confident!
- Overestimating name recognition: When running a campaign, it is important to not assume you are better known that you think. If you are new to the political world, you must make it a point to get your name out there to the public. Do not assume your name is out there simply because you are running for an office. This was a problem in the Wisconsin’s 1st congressional district race in 2018. A few of the Republican candidates running for the seat did not do a good job of getting their names out to the people of the district, and that ruined their chances of winning the election. There was a poor communication of name recognition in this particular election and that ultimately hurt their chances of winning the election when this happens.
- Not paying enough attention to technology: You must be aware of the power of technology, especially social media for your campaign. Every candidate must be active on social media, most specifically on Facebook and Twitter. Nowadays, the majority of potential voters are on social media, so it is important that your campaign is active on those social media networks. Your campaign must also invest in a high-quality fundraising software, update your campaign website regularly, and make donating to your campaign as easy as possible for people. Technology is a big part of the campaign process in today’s society, so use that to your advantage. The use of technology can also help your people to take action offline as well, such as voting, volunteering, and organizing, more efficiently. Technology is not just simply about getting more likes on posts than your opponents, it is more than that.
- Not keeping your original message: One of the biggest mistakes you can make in your campaign is changing your message in the middle of your campaign. The vast majority of voters do not actually tune into the race until the last weeks of the election. Once you create an original message, stick to that and do not update or change it. A problem that arises with changing or updating your original message halfway through your campaign is that some voters will only see your new message towards the end of the election cycle, and they will not see your original message from the beginning of your campaign. You and your campaign may get tired of hearing the same message over and over, but you are delivering your message to voters so they remember when it comes to election day. Repetition and consistency are key to winning a campaign!
- Choosing to run for the wrong office: A big problem that can happen when deciding to run for office is running for the wrong one. With many seats open for election each year, there are always candidates who run for the wrong office. There are plenty of wrong reasons to run for office that candidates frequently make when considering to run. Running for a political office is a big deal and you need to be absolutely sure you are ready, qualified, and willing to run a campaign. It is very important to run for the office you are best suited for and for the right reasons.