wikiHow to Run for Congress

Voters elect hundreds of individuals to the Congress from around the country. The individuals elected campaign differently so they had learned how to run for Congress by trial and error. In the meantime, interested people can study successful paths to formulate a generic plan on how to run for Congress.


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    Build a resume. Successful candidates do not have identical resumes, but they all have a lifetime of experience to tout as a good reason to elect them. Congress is filled with lawyers, but there are also many physicians who have run successfully for Congressional seats. Candidates with a graduate degree in politics will cite this knowledge as an asset although many great public servants had a much different background to recommend them.
    • Avoid mistakes. Candidates for congressional seats have cheated and lied before, and the voters may ignore indiscretions from the past as long as the errors are in the distant past. In the past, candidates lost support when errors from previous years were not disclosed. If an opponent has a flawless record, a minor indiscretion may doom a candidacy.
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    Attend college and study the role and structure of the Congress. A college education is not a requirement for election to Congress, but the competition will probably have a degree. A solid education in government will help each candidate for Congress.
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    Run for a local office for experience and name recognition. Congressional candidates do not all start at the local level before running for Congress, but it is one path. An active, effective member of the city council or school board will impress the people who vote in elections. Running for local office provides an opportunity to test campaign materials.
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    Raise money. Candidates need money to promote their own election. Candidates must pay a filing fee in order to be on the ballot. In order to reach the voters, candidates spend money on advertising, traveling and payroll.
    • Hire a great staff. Candidates benefit from the services of assistants, speechwriters and pollsters. Some volunteers will support candidates, but paid staff members are a necessity.
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    File the necessary paperwork so your name appears on the ballot and pay the fees. Make sure that your residence is located in the district or state. Congressmen need to be at least twenty-five years old, and be residents of the state.
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    Campaign for the office. Organize a campaign strategy for optimal success. Successful candidates usually meet hundreds of voters while campaigning for Congress. Meeting voters in a Congressional district or state can be exhausting, but meeting the voters personally is often a great way to obtain their votes.
    • Prepare effective campaign materials in accordance with your campaign strategy. Voters judge the candidates on personal appearances as well as television and newspaper ads. Hire professionals to compose advertisements and scripts for television appearances.
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    Vote in the election and wait for the results. Don't forget that you can and should vote for yourself.


  • Capitalize on an existing network. Enlist family, friends and colleagues to help with the campaign. Start early in life to build a great network in order to succeed in politics.

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Categories: Political Campaigning and Participation