Michael Clark: My Run for The South Dakota House Update #3 The Plan, The Team, and The Money.

Now that primaries are over, I would like to a few minutes to say ‘Thank you!’ to everyone that ran. It take a huge amount of courage to get the signatures and to offer yourself as a servant to the people. I don’t believe there are any real losers, just some who didn’t get the votes to go on. Everyone whose name was on the ballot deserves a congratulations and thank you.

The primaries are over, the state conventions held, and the nominees have been named; now we move on to the general election. Since I didn’t have a primary, I sat back and watched the process. A couple of things I’m learning; almost everyone has some advice for me, sometimes they even want me to pay for that advice. Each election cycle, each district, each town is different. Any campaign needs to flexible and customized.

TheplanThe Plan:
Like all good successes, winning elections just don’t happen, there needs to be a plan. This being my first time I looked for help from former winners (now elected) folks. I also scrubbed the internet for some ideas. So far I have:
– This is a marathon, not a sprint, pace yourself, and the money.
– Plan backwards from November 8th 7:00 PM. This is the goal line.
– Get comfortable with being uncomfortable. There are going to be a lot of things that takes you out of your comfort zone.
– Have Fun!
We all know from about labor day going on to November it will be hard core campaigning , any campaign will have to compete with school activities, weather, national campaigns, news and lots of other noise. The best tactic is the simplest, face to face, door to door. Beyond that, there is social media, and traditional media. During the summer months I am doing some door to door as well as some of local events like fairs and such, simply, getting my name ‘out there’. My friends at Parkridge Shoe Repair may be seeing me a bit more often.

The Team:
Besides a plan there needs to be a good team in place.
– The campaign manager – This should not be the candidate, ever. They handle all the day to day functions. They keep the campaign focused and on track.
– The volunteer Coordinator – This can be a tough as you don’t want to burn out the volunteers before you reach the goal line, yet keep them motivated.
– Fundraiser Coordinator – sends out all the letters asking for money, plans those big fundraiser events.
– Finance chair – The one who controls the purse strings. They also line up the big money donors.
There are other positions that will be filled as needed.

Bag-of-money-clipartThe Money:
Signs, brochures, buttons, they all cost money. After talking to several other candidates they all say the same thing, it is a bit uncomfortable asking people for money. The ugly truth is money is needed. There is a couple of ways to raise money for a campaign:
– Sent out letters asking for money
– Dialing for dollars
– Fundraising events
– Political Action Committees (PAC and Super PAC)
– Social media
Every little bit helps. Here is a link to help.

Of course there is much more to learn, and like Senator Peters told me, every year there is something new. Meanwhile I am attending as many local social events, fairs, parades, forums, etc. as I can to put my name in the public.