A LITTLE ABOUT WISCONSIN PROGRESS We at Wisconsin Progress envision a Wisconsin (and a United States) that is a better, more equitable place to live, work, and raise a family. In pursuit of this goal we recruit, train, elect, and develop candidates for local and state Legislative office.
A RECORD OF SUCCESS SINCE OUR FOUNDING IN 2009: Conducted 34 trainings around the state for candidates and activists. Recruited and trained close to 200 candidates for local office. Over 70% of our candidates have won their elections. LAST CYCLE: Worked with 86 candidates for spring office; 80% were elected. Won all 9 partisan primaries where we endorsed candidates. Elected 11 new progressive champions to the state legislature. In the past 12 months, we have conducted 15 trainings and trained 268 candidates and activists.
What does the office you’re running for do? What issues do they deal with? What is the annual budget? What are the 3 biggest line items? What is the time commitment? How often do they meet? When do they meet? How long is the term? KNOW THE OFFICE
Who is the incumbent and are they bad on the issues? What is the voter turn out? Are there any election trends working for or against you? How much money is typically spent on the races in your area? What issues matter to the people in your area? Why did the last candidate win or lose? What are the boundaries of your district? KNOW THE POLITICAL LANDSCAPE
Are you a good candidate for office: Does your family support your decision to run? ‘I don’t know’, ‘maybe’, ‘sort of’ ‘I haven’t asked’ are all WRONG answers! Are you willing to put the time and effort into a campaign? Are you willing to ask your friends and family for money? Do you have time to campaign? Campaigning can be a 20 hour a week commitment! Will you knock on doors? What talents and assets can you bring to elective office? How are you involved in your community? KNOW THY SELF
Self-Research Depending on your community and what you’re running for, running for office may or may not seem to be an invasion of privacy. Collect all the information about yourself you can so you can be prepared for what the enemy might throw at you! Areas of Interest Education Business Financial Personal Lets take a look at some example questions…
KNOW THY SELF Education Where did you go to high school, did you graduate? Where did you go to college? Were they public or private institutions? What degrees did you earn? Did you actually complete your degree? Have you repaid student loan? Business What is your complete work record? Go back and recreate a timeline of your work history. What was your relationship with your employers like? Did you win any awards professionally? Hold any leadership position? Hold a position with your union? Were you ever fired for misconduct? Are there business deals you have been involved with that may raise questions?
KNOW THY SELF Financial Are you in default on any loans? Do you have any liens or recent judgments against you? Have you always paid your income taxes in full and on time? Do you have a good credit rating? Does your spouse? Who have you made political contributions to? Personal Have you or anyone in your family ever had problems with law enforcement? Do you have a record of anything occurring in court? What organizations are you associated with or volunteer at? Do you serve on any local boards? Hold a position at a child’s school? All of this is good and demonstrates leadership! Are there any articles that have appeared in newspapers where you are directly quoted? Have you written letters to the editor?
If you have had past problems in any of those areas, it doesn’t mean you can’t run for office! It just means we need to get out in front of any potential problems… KNOW THY SELF
When is election day? What paperwork do you have to file to get on the ballot? When is that paperwork due? Legal requirements for being a candidate Knowledge is power! The more information you have to make a decision, the better your decision will be. If you really want to know if you should run for office – do the research! KNOW THE RULES
BUILD A KITCHEN CABINET Your Kitchen Cabinet will be your table of trusted advisors. They will help bear the heavy workload of the campaign and free you up to do what candidates do best: Raise money and knock on doors!
BUILD A KITCHEN CABINET Campaign Manager Treasurer Bookkeeper Volunteer coordinator Data guru Community outreach Door Buddies
No matter what office you decide to run for, raising money will be one of your two top priorities. Building a list is a political art form – here’s how to start: Everyone you ever met goes on the list If your family sends out a Christmas Card, or if you’ve recently had a wedding and still have your invitation list – those are good places to start Keep your list in Excel It will be easier to keep track of and utilize later Have columns for all methods of contact: Phone, PERSONAL e- mail, address, city, state, zip DEVELOP YOUR FUNDRAISING LIST
DEVELOP FUNDRAISING LIST Groups to consider when building your list Friends Family Members of your local union Church group High school class list Kiwanis Rotary PTO/PTA
The most valuable resource to a campaign is a candidates time. Ensure that you use your most precious resource in the best way by keeping a calendar: BUILD YOUR CALENDAR Doors 17 Hours Call Time 6 Hours Doors 18 Hours Call Time 3 Hours Doors 14 Hours Call Time 0 Hours Candidate Doors 12-6 Candidate Doors 12-6 Candidate Doors 10-4 Candidate Doors 10-4 Call Time! 5-8 Call Time! 5-8 Call Time! 5-8 Candidate Doors w/volunteer 5-8 Candidate Doors w/volunteer 5-8 Candidate Doors 5-7 Suzie Soccer Game 7:30 Ben Bowling Birthday Party 7 Candidate Doors 5-8 County Dem Party Meeting 6-9 Kitchen Cabinet Meeting – 7 Candidate Doors 12-8 Candidate Doors w/volunteer 5-8 Candidate Doors 5-8 Work Retreat
If you don’t write it down – it doesn’t exist. Why Plan? Identifies what you need to do to win. Establishes timelines, and outlines the budget Helps maintain focus We will help you fill out a campaign plan for you today, and help you adjust it through the campaign What will go in your campaign plan is another training… WRITE YOUR CAMPAIGN PLAN
Work on building your networks, political capital Volunteer with your union or local political campaigns. Meet the volunteers who you will need to help you win; Lean how campaigns really work Start attending the meetings of the body you plan on running for Is there a sitting member who can introduce you around and tell you what’s going on Are there other boards and bodies whose meetings you should attend? Can you become more involved (take a leadership role) in an organization you are a part of? This demonstrates leadership and may help build your list It may help you generate news stories on your work Start working on the first steps we already discussed RUNNING IN 2015 OR 2016
Time is on your side… Can you relocate to a different community to improve your electoral chances? Can you add experience to help your candidacy Education? Boards and commissions? Volunteer activity? Can you change jobs to improve your prospects? Its never too early to start building your capital! RUNNING IN 2017 AND BEYOND
OUR CONTACT INFORMATION SCOTT SPECTOR firstname.lastname@example.org SONDRA MILKIE email@example.com Please take the time to fill out a Wisconsin Progress Training Follow-up Worksheet and give it to us before you go! Thank you!!