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Alexis Valdez-Darnell Published In Campaigns & Elections

This article was originally published by Campaigns & Elections on July 26, 2021


There are a myriad of ways you can kick off your campaign, but there are more things to consider this year with redistricting on the horizon. Timing, fundraising and even the district a candidate is running in are all potentially impacted by the late redistricting process.

With that in mind, candidates should take extra consideration when planning their launches. For candidates who want to have a strong announcement and make a splash right out of the gate, here are six important considerations to discuss when planning your official entry into the race.

Announce sooner than later.

The process for redistricting will happen later than normal in most places across the country — waiting for it to play out to announce your campaign will yield few benefits and make it almost impossible to raise money and lay the proper groundwork needed to be successful. If you’ve already decided on running for office, get in the race. Do your homework, talk to your legislators or redistricting commissions and, if it might otherwise be your legislature’s intent to draw you out of a district you’d like to run in, that’s theoretically much harder to do to an announced candidate and a campaign that’s underway.

Remember, 2021 is no “off year.”

Waiting for the election year to roll around to make an announcement decision is almost unheard of in the current environment. Once you’ve determined your personal, family, work, and financial situations are in place, the advantages of announcing early certainly outweigh any concerns. Consider selecting a date toward the beginning of a financial reporting period to allow as much time as possible to build a strong first fundraising report – this is one of the most important signals of a credible candidate and serious campaign.

Nail your narrative.

If you have the ability to conduct a pre-announcement survey, do so. What parts of your background and biography do voters like or identify with? Let that guide how you talk about what you’ve done in your life. What’s the mood of voters? Channel it. And what topics are on the top of their mind? Tie your entry into the race to those issues. Be sure to have a clear sense of who you are and why you’re the best person to address the needs and concerns of the people you’re hoping to represent.

Get your announcement video right.

Announcement videos have almost become a must for campaigns these days. The type, quality, and length of video can vary from a candidate speaking into a cellphone with little-to-no editing, to a high-production, full-length and professionally produced video. Your campaign budget and cost should be the determining factor over which route you go. Regardless of what style you choose, the most important thing is that your candidate comes across like a winner, so spend time on your script. If your candidate isn’t comfortable narrating yet, consider hiring a voiceover performer. Again, first impressions matter and no video might be better than a bad video.

Create a run-of-show document for your announcement event.

There are a lot of moving parts to a professional announcement, and you want it to run like a well-oiled machine. Gather your team for regular countdown calls leading up to the announcement. A candidate shouldn’t worry about all of the minute details, but your team must run through each component, outstanding needs, and progress as the date approaches to ensure nothing falls through the cracks.

Build your infrastructure in advance.

Along with your GC and/or manager, your compliance person and digital vendor should be heavily involved in your announcement planning and execution. It’s important to work with a team that knows what’s required for each, the timelines for setting them up, and how to seamlessly turn everything live once your press announcement is released. The first few weeks of your campaign will be extremely busy, and your attention should be primarily devoted to political and fundraising efforts, so rely on your digital vendor to prepare an announcement package to cover at least the necessary assets for the first 10 days of the campaign.

Alexis is currently the Managing Director at Go BIG Media, Inc., a national digital media firm with clients in over forty states. Prior to joining Go BIG Media Inc., Alexis served as a Regional Political Director for the Republican National Committee during the 2018, 2016 and 2010 election cycles, overseeing political operations in 20 different states.

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