How to Recruit Great Candidates for Public Office
Have you ever given any thought about where good political candidates come from? What sort of individuals do you want running for office? Egotistical, self-important politicians or capable humble public servants? You would probably prefer the humble public servant, but these are exactly the sort of people who don’t think of themselves as candidates.
If you want better public officials for your local community then you must RECRUIT THEM.
One of the most important functions of a local Republican party is recruit good candidates. It is one of the most effective ways to improve your community and it costs little more than some time and attention.
Who makes a good candidate?
Serving in a public office is a leadership position. One of the most effective ways to identify possible candidates is to identify people who are ALREADY leading in your local community.
- Civic club leaders such as Rotary, Lions club, etc.
- Church leaders. These individuals are often civic minded
- Non-profit leaders. These are often people passionate about making a difference.
- Youth-leaders in sports such as Little League or scouting organizations. These are individuals who care about the future of our youth and are typically civic minded.
- Business leaders who are active in the local Chamber of Commerce or other business organizations. These are people who are knowledgeable about business and economic issues.
- Members of public boards and appointed positions such as the planning commission or utility boards. These are people who have volunteered for public service and are familiar with people and processes of the local government.
- People active in your local Republican party. They are obviously interested in politics right?
Sometimes you need to identify candidates in particular geographic political districts. A useful method is to get a list of voters who live in that district from the local election office. Then have several people go through the list highlighting names that they recognize as possible good candidates.
Once you have identified a list of possible candidates you need to go through a simple vetting process. Ask several people that you trust if 1) the potential candidate holds the correct political positions and 2) if their personality and character are suited for the job. I wrote previously about this: Are You Qualified to Run for Local Public Office?
Persuading A Possible Candidate to Run for Office
Have someone plant the idea in their head. I have a friend who once called an individual and said, “You should run for alderman.” The individual replied, “Why would I want to do that?” and hung up the phone. A few months later he was sworn into office.
- Ask them.
- Explain to them how they could make a difference. Running for office is large investment of time and effort. Explain to your candidate how their service could make a positive impact to the community. Leaders want to lead and make a difference. Help them see the impact.
- Explain to them how they would benefit. Running and serving in office is an opportunity to grow in leadership ability, meet many new people and learn new skills.
- Offer to help them run. It is likely that a new local candidate has never been involved in running for office before. They may question their ability to run a campaign successfully. Explain to them that your local party does have experience in running campaigns and that you will help them with each step of the process.
Don’t leave the leadership of your community to chance. Candidate recruitment is one of the most important functions a local party can play. What are some other methods your local party uses to identify and recruit candidates?