If you’re following the news, you’ll know that there is lots of mystery and intrigue surrounding elections right now. Lines are being drawn in the sand, and no matter where you fall politically, if you’re running for office in 2021, there’s one truth that you’re going to have to face: You’re going to have to deal with all of it.
Are voter fraud and voter suppression and new requirements and the ghosts of 2020 something that you can tackle? I’m guessing not, especially if you have a race to run. More power to you, if you can, but knowing what we know about what it takes to win a local election, our recommendation is that you focus on talking to as many voters as possible.
One of the things you should notice about campaigns that end up going into recounts or legal battles or audits is that they’re close. If a race isn’t close, then there’s no need for the rigmarole. The winning candidate accepts the victory and the losing candidate accepts the defeat – on election night – and everyone goes home. It’s when races are close is when the problems happen.
After all of the hard work you’ve put in, do you want your race decided by attorneys?
Our solution? Focus on winning big. Don’t let your race be close enough to require that kind of controversial aftermath. Slam the door on election night, and spend the next several weeks celebrating instead of running up legal bills.
Of course, we say that here in the blog, and it’s much more difficult to accomplish in real life. But, it’s a mindset that we’re trying to get you to take on. If you want to avoid a mess after Election Day, win your race in the trenches before voters go to the polls. Never let your foot off the gas.
This is a principle we emphasize throughout The Campaign Coach’s Virtual Campaign School, because we want you to win your race with confidence, and not fall into the situation where after all of the hard work you’ve put in, your race is decided by attorneys.
So, we’re not just going to throw an idea out there, without giving you some tools. Here are some things to focus on as you look to not only win your election, but win big:
- Talk to your most loyal voters many times throughout your campaign – Never assume just because someone tells you they’ll support you that they’ll actually make it to the polls to do so. Get them there.
- Know where you stand – Not all local campaigns can afford polling, but if you’re working hard enough in all areas of your town/city/district, you should have a sense of how things are going. If you need to build momentum, then ramp up your volunteer recruitment and strengthen your fundraising. Be able to inspire your supporters with your aggressiveness and planning. (Blog: Don’t Be the Candidate that Loses By Less than 10 Votes)
- Have a strong Get-Out-The-Vote (GOTV) plan – In our Virtual Campaign School, we dedicate an entire session to your GOTV program. Why? Because you can do an awful lot of work, doing all the right things, for months and months, but if you don’t activate your voters at the end, none of it really matters.
- Convey your intent to “win big” to your supporters – Don’t be arrogant, but in the spirit of hard work, let your funders, your volunteers and your supporters know that you’re not only “in it to win it,” but to win big. Here’s the thing: if you’re a challenger candidate going up against an incumbent, chances are they’re going to have a more well-oiled machine than you do. Which will put you at a disadvantage if there’s election aftermath. Be up front with your supporters. Tell them with everything going on in elections in America right now, we can’t afford to leave things to chance. You’re going to work hard, and you need their support and resources to cross the finish line first.
The best part about winning big is the “mandate” that comes with it. If you have a convincing victory, it gives you a playbook of exactly what voters selected you to accomplish. With close races, you still have some convincing to do, and that will affect how you approach the actual job of public service and your ability to accomplish your goals in office. In The Campaign Coach’s Virtual Campaign School, we give you the tools you need to win big, so that you can be the most effective representative of your community that you can be.