1. Fill out, on time, all required legal paperwork
It’s a hassle, and as Libertarians we tend to look on campaign reporting as just so much more governmental red tape. But the “all publicity is good publicity” theory falls flat when the story is about you being fined for not filling out your disclosure forms. Plus, campaign disclosure laws actually serve as restraints on political power, and on that level at least could be supported by Libertarians.
2. Return all media calls promptly
The opportunity for “free” media exposure is one of the most valid reasons for running an informational
or paper campaign. If you do not return calls quickly, this taints the reporter’s view not only of your campaign, but of Libertarians in general.
3. Answer key candidate surveys you receive
Some candidate surveys are well worth the time to complete. This includes ones that are planned for publication in a major media outlet or website, or that come from a single-issue group that is likely to support your campaign, e.g., pro-gun rights, tax cut groups, etc. If you’re unsure whether your time is well-spent, as the group requesting the survey exactly what they will do with your responses. Ask for a commitment to print your responses in full, unedited. Even if they’re a group that opposes your Libertarian agenda, it may bring you positive attention from your supporters if published. Answer their questions unapologetically. Be sure to lay out your Libertarian Solution and the resultant benefits to voters.
4. Attend all candidate forums to which you are invited
This is another avenue for easy publicity that should never be passed up. It’s not the people in the live
audience that are important; they are usually candidate supporters who already have their minds made up. But the forums are covered by media, who will spread the message to people who haven’t made up their minds about which candidate to support.
5. Get a good “head shot” photo done, preferably by a professional
You’ll need it to graduate from a strictly paper campaign to a higher-level informational campaign. The photo should be included in any mailings or press releases sent to the media. It will increase the chances of newspaper coverage.
Once you’ve met these minimum requirements for a campaign, here are the next steps you should take to move your campaign to the next level of success.
6. Set goals for your campaign
Set aggressive but realistic goals — ones that are appropriate for your expected level of activity. Don’t set a goal to win unless you intend to be at least as active as the major party candidates.
All goals should be in terms of specific numbers. Good goals for engaged level campaigns could be to win your home precinct, to increase your vote totals by a certain percentage over previous Libertarian campaigns in your area, to do a certain number of media interviews, or to increase LP membership in your area by a certain number.
The latter is particularly important for the LP’s long-term success. We encourage you to include an LP membership form on any literature.
7. Prepare a news release about your candidacy
If your campaign covers only a small area, hand deliver as many press releases as possible (along with photo). Use this as a way to introduce yourself to local reporters.
8. Prepare a press kit
This should include your photo, your announcement news release, and a list of short quotes from you on the issues you’ll be stressing in your campaign. This is also the stage where you should be preparing a brochure or campaign card. You may also wish to include the LP’s literature.
9. Write a “stump” speech
This is your basic campaign speech, which explains who you are, why you’re running, and what you would do if elected. You should prepare one for Libertarians, and another for the general public. For bonus points, join Toastmasters, which will probably lead to speaking engagements itself.
10. Raise at least some money for your campaign
The program described in the “Raising Money Quickly: Raising Your First $2,500 in Seven Days” will work for you as it has for hundreds of other candidates. You simply have to use it. Nothing will push your campaign further than using other people’s money to spread the Libertarian message.