No. 1: Talk to Your Family and Friends The first and, probably, most important thing you want to do if you’re thinking about running for local office is to have a chat with your friends and family. It’s essential that they’re on board and you have the support of the people closest to you.
No. 2: Clear it with Work Running for office means that not only will you have to spend a lot of your time campaigning, but your name will probably end up in the local news. Because of that, the next step is talking with your employer to make sure they are OK with cutting down your hours and face representing them in the media.
No. 3: File Your Appointment of Treasurer While this is not the most exciting step, it is a crucial part of the process. The Appointment of Treasurer is an official document required of all candidates as they start seeking election and must be done to begin raising money for your campaign. Doing so helps to ensure the public is aware of your candidacy and triggers requirements for you to begin reporting your expenses and contributions based on the filing schedule for your particular race. This document must be filed with your appropriate filing authority. For those running for local offices, it should be filed with the city secretary or board services of your school district. To find your Texas Appointment of Treasurer, click here.
No. 4: Make a List of Your Supporters The next step is to create a list of everyone you know that will endorse you and your campaign. Now some people may tell you that it is possible to self-fund a race, but most people would agree that it is better to have people who believe in your race enough to contribute to your campaign. It is also a good idea to be as transparent as possible with your campaign donor list. The state of Texas requires candidates to report campaign contributions. The report must include the amount and date of each contribution, along with the name and address of the person or political committee who made the contribution, according to the Texas Ethics Commission’ Campaign Finance Guide for Candidates and Officeholders Who File with Local Filing Authorities. However, if the contributor gave $90 or less, it is not required to report their personal information.
No. 5: Call Your Close Friends and Family First When it comes to gathering supporters and raising money, it’s best to start, literally, at home by asking your friends and family. It also helps if you are very involved in your community and have already developed many connections. It’s also a good idea to find a campaign manager to help you create a campaign budget and plan. It’s also critical that you understand the Texas Campaign Finance and Ethics Rules, which you can view by clicking here. Of those rules, three important ones to keep in mind are: You have to have a campaign treasurer appointment on file to accept campaign contributions. The candidate must sign the reports — not the campaign treasurer. When reporting campaign contributions, you must also report any from your personal funds. To access campaign finance reporting forms, click here.
No. 6: File Your Application to be Placed on the Ballot Now, it’s time for more paperwork. Your race filing authority will provide this document, and you must file it during the specific time period for the race you’re running in. For example, the filing period for the May 2021 election spanned from Jan. 13 to Feb. 12. Filing this document makes your candidacy for that specific office official. It will also ensure your name is placed on the ballot. And that deadline is a harsh one — the filing application is always due the 78th day before the election at 5 p.m., according to the Texas Secretary of State. The earlier you can turn it in, the better.
No. 7: Campaign, Campaign, Campaign Once you’re officially a candidate, it’s time to start the most exhausting portion — campaigning. This process will consist of meeting constituents, knocking on doors, attending community forums, making phone calls and raising money. Of course, be prepared for your days and nights to start blending together just from the sheer amount of people and meetings during your campaign.
No. 8: Early Voting and Election Day As Election Day nears and early voting begins, your work as a candidate is far from finished. During the early voting period and on Election Day, you must greet voters at the polls while continuing your campaign strategies. Be prepared to spend 12 hours a day, in some cases, for several weeks. Usually, the elections department will begin posting the results from early votes and mail-in ballots at 7 p.m. The results will slowly start coming in throughout the evening, and the outcome will begin to become clear. And regardless of what the result is, you should be glad you did it.
Disclaimer:Johnson County Republican Volunteers does not endorse any candidates.