Resources for Candidates
We are very excited to provide supports for local candidates. This is not an exhaustive list, nor should you stop learning more by reaching out to other organizations that do training. But we are here to get your started.
Timeline for starting a successful campaign in Pierce County.
Research your race: Make sure you know what you are signing up for by looking at prior candidates that ran, look at the group's website. Example: running for a school board, find the district website and see meeting schedules, and if you feel comfortable reach out to someone that is doing that job.
Talk to your family: This is a big decision and if you have a partner, children, or anyone that you live with; talk to them. Running for office is like getting a 2nd job and will involve a lot of people. Make sure that you have the support of your family and friends. This doesn't mean they are your campaign team, but you will need them.
Make the decision: Once you choose the race you will run for, you need to find a great place or space to announce. We would welcome you to come to one of our meetings, or reach out to one of the local LD's. No matter what, once you say out loud "I am running for _____________" you will have 2 weeks to file with the PDC (Public Disclosure Commission). This like takes you to a site that will walk you through what you should do as a new candidate. One of the decisions you will have to make is if you plan to raise $5000 or less; or more than that. It is far easier to do this one time. If you are filing for a Federal office, they have there own set of rules, link to the FEC (Federal Elections Commission).
Once you have the fundraising paperwork done, which will include deciding on a Campaign committee name, and possibly a website, mailing address, email and phone number; what is next? Now you need to file as a candidate with the Pierce County Auditor.
If you haven't done so by now, you need to build your team. You can do this by recruiting your friends and family, and you might consider hiring a consulting firm and/or a campaign manager. If you know or admired the campaign run by another elected or candidate ASK THEM. Many can be found by searching online, checking out LinkedIn, or you can look at the PDC and see who was paid for services. In the end, consider like you would hiring a personal assistant and find a person or group that works for your personality and your planned budget.
Create a budget, timeline and plan. You will need to know how much money you will need to do what you plan and it will help you figure out what you are going to do. If you are planning on paying staff, buying thousands of mailers and signs, and having a website your budget can swing quite widely depending on what your campaign plan will be. Make sure yo know the rules for campaign fundraising. You know you, you have researched the race and whether it is your family and friends or hired professionals you need a plan.
Endorsements: we have a page on this topic, but the biggest thing is to make sure you have a good email address that can be checked regularly so groups can find you BUT more important, you can send out to groups to seek their endorsement. Want to know how to apply for endorsements from us (if eligible) or other groups, please visit to our endorsement resource page.
Website: pick a domain name that makes sense, easy to spell and or you campaign committee name. If you are not paying someone to make your site there are a variety of programs that make it user friendly. You might find someone that can do this for you, you might pay someone to make your site or your hired person/team might do this for you. Look at other candidates websites to see how they organize information.
Logo: this can be done by professionals, or maybe you have someone with an artistic eye. Remember that print is often more expensive when you add more colors. If you look at political logos and signs you can see a variety of really great ones, and some that make you think. If you are doing this on your own, try Canva as they have lots of tools to create things if you can't afford or are choosing to do this on your own. Remember you need to think about what your logo will go on...print for flyers, yard signs, website, t-shirts, and mailers. So many ways you might use your logo, so creating something that works well on multiple mediums is really helpful and can keep costs down. Also, the cost for printing on a single sheet of paper vs a yard sign can be very different.
Campaign Finance: you will be required by the PDC and the FEC to file reports of campaign contributions and spending. If you don't have paid help to do this, learn the rules either by attending training or researching online. You want to stay in compliance so learn the rules, make sure your treasurer knows the rules or get paid help to do this. All can absolutely work!
Fundraising: you set a budget, now how to raise the money. You will have to call friends and family to contribute. Do not be scared to ask. Some will say no, some will say not right now (then ask them later), and SOME will say YES!!!! Ask for a specific amount and then follow up with a thanks and reminder of the amount and how to contribute. Ask other groups to help share your ask, plan some fundraisers including your kick-off. You will have to call and ask for money, so if that is going to be an issue, you will have to get over it. Sadly, people don't just give you money. Unless you are paying for things yourself, it takes what we call "call-time". Create schedules, set goals, if you have any staff have them watch your call time so they can keep you on track and help log data. The bigger the planned budget, the larger amount of time you will spend on this.
Keeping things together: remember to take care of yourself. You are the center of this, the lynch pin. So make sure to schedule time to take care of you. If you need time to spend with your kids, partner or dog; put it on the schedule. If getting a massage recharges you, or turning off your phone and going for a walk or drive; schedule it. Please make sure to take care of yourself.
If you are looking for support, please reach out to any of the people and groups below. We want to help Democrats win, which means we need Democrats to run. There are a variety of groups that do training. If you need help finding support, start with someone on this list or our Elections Committee Chair:
Cinnamon Brown, Chair of PC Dems Elections Committee - firstname.lastname@example.org
Dave Little, Chair of 2nd LD Dems - email@example.com
Ed Herde, Chair of 25th LD Dems - firstname.lastname@example.org
Kara Aley, Chair of 26th LD Dems - email@example.com
Justin Camarata, Chair of 27th LD Dems - firstname.lastname@example.org
Judy Smirga, Chair of 28th LD Dems - Judith.email@example.com
Chris Winters, Chair of 29th LD Dems - firstname.lastname@example.org
Brian Gunn, Chair of 31st LD Dems - email@example.com