Political Campaign Plan and Budget CW 58- transcript

Political Campaign Plan and Budget

John Tsarpalas: Today’s Commonwealthy podcast is going to be one of the most important podcasts you can listen to because it brings it all together. You need to understand how to do a political campaign plan and budget. This is Commonwealthy #58.

As I record this podcast today, it is early June of 2016, which means the primaries are just about over everywhere in the United States. People who have won their primaries should be thinking about their general election and their plan. We have not really talked about planning and budgeting.

Planning and budgeting go together. For me, the best way to build a plan is right in a spreadsheet. I use something like Excel or a Google Doc. I break the plan into different pages because different parts of the campaign each need a plan of their own.

So what are some of those bigger plan levels? Well, the first one is you’ve got to have one for your basic staff and overhead. Will you have any staff? What will be the needs of that staff? Are you going to be supplying a cell phone to someone on the staff? What are other benefits do you need to pay for?

Do you need to do withholding and all of that kind of thing to pay for staff, which legally you probably will if they are full time. If they are part time or they are a freelancer or they are self-employed and can come on as a contractor, you need to talk to an accountant about all of that stuff. And that’s a possibility.

You need to factor all of those in your staff and overhead plan. Do you need a landline phone system or will everything be done with cell phones, which is fine especially in a smaller campaign? Are any of those cell phone costs going to be paid for by the campaign?

In a smaller campaign, theoretically you do not need any paid staff. Hopefully you can find volunteers to do what you need. And you are going to have to do a lot of it yourself and with family.

But if you are moving up to a fairly large county race or state rep race or something, you are probably at some point going to have to have some kind of a campaign manager or a field director or someone that can take care of some of your activities. Now the field director actually could go into the field plan, the cost of that staff. So we will talk about that again in a little bit.

Back to your basic plan. Are you going to be the only one raising money? If so, will there be costs? If you need to think about office supplies. Are you going to have to buy a computer for the campaign?

How about asking people to donate a used computer? Often these are good enough for what you need. An old laptop that is not too out of date and has current software on it can be something you can use in your campaign headquarters, whether you actually have one or it is just a corner of a basement.

You are going to need to build some money in for the candidate’s travel. Candidates need to have gas or travel expenses or something because they are going to add up if you have a big area. Even if it is just a county, counties are big areas. You need to get around. You need to have the campaign reimburse you for that so that is not all of coming out of your family’s pocket.

Usually you are not going to lease a car for a campaign, but I know of bigger races where the guys have run for state offices have. I knew a guy running for lieutenant governor and another person running for secretary of state. They have leased cars to put all of the mileage on. And they hired a driver.

So these are the kinds of things you need to think about for support for the candidate. They are not going to go in any other parts of the plan, which I should probably mention at this moment. A separate subplan would be your field plan. You might want have a subplan for what you are going to do in the mail. Are you going to do a lot mailings? We are going to talk about each one of these in depths.

And then an advertising plan. Are you going to have any radio, cable TV ads, or regular TV ads? Will you be paying for social media ads or newspaper ads? Who knows what else-billboards, bus stops, and things like that. So you need an advertising plan. In that plan, you are going to figure out your budget and your cost on all of the items in there.

Again, I am going to go back to these in detail. But I want to point out sort of an overview here. Something else you might want to have in your plan is earned media. That is usually a separate plan. Earned media means how often you are going to try to get stories in the news. Is it possible for you to generate news events or at least put out press releases? If you are going to do that, are you doing that yourself or is their a paid staffer or a part time person there in the earned media plan.

As you bring these different plans and budgets back, because you are going to have a budget for your field plan once you have put it together and you are going to have a budget for your mail plan once you put it together, all of that is going to come back into your finance plan.

You are going to know how much money you are going to need to raise from your master plan. And that is going to affect your finance plan. Your finance plan is going to have some costs built into that for raising money for events and things like that. So we will come back to each one of these smaller plans that build the bigger plan one by one because it is important to understand how all of that works.

So let’s go into a little bit of detail on your field plans since I am such a stickler for having a good voter ID Get Out the Vote. We have had a lot of good podcasts on Get Out the Vote. So go back to Commonwealthy #47, #48, #49, and #50. #47 is Early Voting and Absentee and Election Day Strategies. #48 is about Election Judges and Poll Watchers. #49 is What Happens on Election Day. And #50 is Election night and the Morning After.

You need to understand the Get Out the Vote procedure and what is happening. You are also going to want to understand the whole voter IDing process that gets you to Get Out the Vote. So go back to Commonwealthy #13, which is Targeting Voters. And then #14, which is Voter ID Scripts. And Commonwealthy #28 about automated personalized phone calls and other things like that with James O’Hara.

You need to take a look at some of these and understand your Get Out the Vote plan, your voter ID plan, going into drafting your field plan. So what is the field plan? The field plan is anything that is going to happen out in the neighborhoods, out talking to voters, and IDing voters.

So if you are going to have phone banks, you need to plan your phone banks. If you are going to door to door, you need to figure out what doors you are going to knock on and how many you are going to try to contact.

So all of this goes back to your numbers. To do your field plan, to do your mail plan, and to do all of your plans, you are going back to your basic numbers. So if you remember way back in the beginning, we talked getting the information for your district. That is was back in Commonwealthy #3, Analyzing Past Election Results.

You want to go get the data from the board of elections. Get it loaded in so you have all of your voters and who they are in into your database. But you also want to take a look at the numbers. You figure out how many people you need to vote for you. What is the number for your victory?

It is usually fifty-one percent. How do you get to fifty-one percent? And then you are going take those numbers and you are going to break them down into smaller pieces. How many people do you need to contact a week in your base? That is something you should have done in the primary.

So that would be if you are a Republican or a Republican ticket or leaning Republican and say you are in a nonpartisan race. If you are running on holding the line on property taxes for schools and you are running for school board, you need to identify people like that early on, starting in the primary. If you haven’t finished, you need to continue doing that in the general election early period.

And then you also have to decide how many independents you are going to go after. Do you need to contact them? You can make some assumptions. You can assume that Republicans are going to show up to the polls and vote for you. But that is not often true.

It depends who is at the top of the ticket. If is a presidential year, turnout is a little higher. Gubernatorial year it is lower. And if you are in a small local election that is off of these other cycles, turnout is really going to be low.

So in your field plan, you are trying to decide who you are trying to find, ID, and turnout. I am not going to go back into a lot of detail on that because I have already talked about these other podcasts at Commonwealthy that covered this. You need to come up with numbers- numbers of voters and numbers of households you need to reach.

And if you have the manpower and the time, the number of people you are going to additionally register if that will help your cause. And then you have got to get them to turnout.

So I do this in a spreadsheet. I figure out how many people we need to contact. I try to divide it up over the number of weeks I’ve got until the election. And I also try to figure out and determine how many volunteers I am going to need to get it done.

You might figure you are going to make three contacts an hour on the phone. That means actually talking to somebody. And if it is door to door, it might be a little less. It might be two. Now door to door is really effective, but you meet and talk to less people.

So how many volunteers do you need to reach all of those people that you need to reach to make your goal every week to get to your goal? You might want to make your goals a bit more aggressive. You want to reach ten percent more than fifty percent. You want to get sixty percent of the people.

This way you will be pushing. What happens is people tend to fall behind goals. If you set your early goals higher and don’t miss them, you are running ahead and you are going to be in good shape.

Now, let me go back and tell you a little story I think I have told before, but I will tell it again. This was 1998. I am a campaign manager for a guy who is running for state rep. I get locked in to a poll that night, because I was also a precinct committeeman or precinct captain as they call me here in Cook County, Illinois. I had to pick up a tape of the vote that was printed out by the polling machines after they had done the count in that precinct.

Anyway, I am locked in there. They are having trouble getting the paperwork done quickly. I am getting nervous. A Democrat says to me, “Quit being so nervous. I know you lost.” I said, “How do you know I lost?” And he says, “Well, I know you lost on August 17th.” I am like, “What? How did you know that?” He says, “Because that’s the day we found voter #17,469.”

I am like, “What?” He said, “Yeah. We were out knocking doors every day. I was a paid staffer. There were other paid staffers. There were also volunteers, literally hundreds of volunteers. And we made phone calls and we knocked on doors. We asked people if they were voting for our candidate or not voting for our candidate or undecided.

“And if they said they were voting for our candidate, we said great. We put all of this information back into the database. And if they weren’t voting for our candidate, we said, ‘Thank you. Goodbye.’ Those that were undecided, we asked them what was their primary issues and we sent them more information. We kept mailing them information throughout the rest of the campaign.

“We knew in August that we had reached our goal of 17,649.” He said, “We didn’t stop. We kept knocking on doors. We kept making phone calls. And all we had to do is make sure all those people voting for our candidate got to the polls on election day.”

That’s what you are going to do with your field plan. You are going to figure out exactly who you are trying to find and find enough votes and then get them out.

So in your budget in your plan, you are going to have to figure out how many volunteers you need, how much paid staff you might need, how much volunteer management you might need, what areas you are going to knock on, what phones you are going to call, and who you are going to try to reach and talk to.

You are going to need a voter system, such as Voter Gravity, that tracks voters and can do walk lists and things for you. You need to put the cost of that into your field plan budget. You need to figure out the cost of snacks and drinks for volunteers and put that into your budget.

You are going to figure out how much staff you are going to have and put that into your budget. You are going to figure out if you are going to need additional phones or laptops or if you are just going to ask volunteers to bring their own, which is quite acceptable in a small campaign.

You are going to have to figure out the cost of the literature that you are going to distributing when you are going door to door. Every campaign needs a walk card, palm card, or whatever you want to call the thing you are handing out. And the volunteers leave it at the door when they are knocking. You are going to need X amount of those. So how many households are in your district?

If people are going door to door, they are knocking on every door. Will they get to every door? Do you have enough literature planned for that? And what’s the cost of that literature? You are going to have to figure that out and put it in your field plan.

You are going to need yard signs and signage. Are you going to have different kinds of signs than yard signs? Say you are in a metropolitan area and it is wall to wall sidewalks and concrete. You can’t be pushing staked yard signs in those sidewalks, but you can have smaller printed signs that can go in windows of stores and people’s front windows of their houses and apartments.

But you probably need yard signs, too. How many are you planning on? How big is your district? If you are running in state rep race, you are probably need a thousand. If you are in a school board, you might need two or three hundred or maybe five hundred. I don’t know. If you are running for Congress, you might need five or ten thousand.

Also, if you are running for Congress or an area that has a lot of ethnic groups, you might want yard signs in a different language. I know that has worked well in the Chicago area. You often see yard signs in Spanish, Polish, and in other languages. I have seen them in Korean and Chinese for certain neighborhoods. And that makes sense.

All of that goes into the field plan. All of that is a matter of making estimates. And an estimate is nothing but a guess. You are trying to figure out your best guess. You are putting that in your spreadsheet and you are finding out what the cost is.

Now it takes time to put together a budget because you have to go back and cost everything. But this is a good time to be shopping. It is a little early on. You can be making deals out there. You can buy yard signs cheaper in an off period than a month or two before a campaign because the printers are all busy.

So think about your field plan. Think about the materials you are going to need. Are you going to go events? Do you need a banner? Do you need signage for the events? Do you need t-shirts for your volunteers if they are going to walk in an event? Will you be doing any sidewalk sales or some kind of community fairs? Will you be needing to get a booth? Is there a cost for that?

Again, figure out some costs for gas and getting around and things like that. All of that ends up in your field plan and gets costed out. Then you can make that a subpage of your master plan and bring across that total budget into your campaign plan and budget.

So let’s talk about your mail plan. Plan for what you are going to be mailing to voters. The first thing you need to do is go back to your numbers and look at the number of households you’ve decided you are going to mail to. Are you going to mail something early to all of the hard R’s (to the Republican voters, to those people who have voted Republican in primaries or are registered as Republican)?

It’s not a bad idea to do that early on. Part of that plan could be an ask for money. There could be a return card with a return envelope and a simple piece of literature. Do not put postage on it; it’s too expensive. The literature could be your walk card or palm card. Or there could be a letter in their explaining who you are so you don’t get into expensive color costs.

But with an ask for them to volunteer, a card where they can check off that they want to volunteer, put up a yard sign, or donate with a return envelope. It is a good thing to do early on to your base. It lets them know you are there. It plants in their mind that you are out there and that they need to vote for you.

A little later on, you want to start mailing to people. You want to think about what lists you might want to buy. You can think about email lists in this plan as well as the mail plan.

You can break it out into a separate area to have an email plan for voter outreach. I would consider it a subgroup of the mail plan because often an email plan, people consider that the stuff that campaigns are putting out regular to it’s volunteers, donors, and supporters. I am talking about trying to give people an idea where you stand on the issues. So what I am talking about here is part of issue ID.

So a subgroup of the mail plan is an email plan. But you want to get a hold of some house that can supply you with lists. Or are you just going to mail to voters within your district without IDing them on issues?

You can go buy a list and you can go back to Commonwealthy #56, Good Data Big Data with Peter Anderson. In that one, we talked about buying lists for email and buying lists for mailing. It can give you issues and things like that that you can be mailing to people, too. It will you go more targeted reach on specific issues.

Are you going to do your mailings by issue? What are those issues? Are you only mailing that specific issue to people that are interested in that specific issue? Again, you are getting a list of people to mail that to because you know they have somehow been qualified on that issue.

Versus you are doing a general mailing to all of the voters in the district that aren’t a Democrat or you know probably won’t vote for you so you have taken them out of your database. You know the number of households.

And are you mailing a postcard? Are you mailing something in an envelope? Is this oversized? Is it going to be some other form of mail? What are those different types? You need to think about this and you need to think about the timing.

Now with early voting in most communities starting about a month before, you need to mail a little earlier. Probably you need to mail a little more. You probably need to get three to seven pieces to people before early voting and then continue mailing during early voting once a week. And then perhaps the last few weeks you are going to mail a piece twice a week.

Somewhere in that mail plan and outreach plan and perhaps it is in your phone calls, you are going to have the October surprise reply piece budgeted for because something is going to hit that the left is going to throw at you. They always throw something at you, truthful or not. So you need to have money in your budget to reply.

Now, if you’ve got a small campaign, money is a problem. If you are running for school board, if you can get three pieces in the mail to all of the voters that you think are going to lean your way or somehow have voted in past municipal elections or past local elections, you are doing pretty good.

Your budget for school board is going to be maybe three mailings. It is going to be obviously some phone calling, some door knocking, getting to some events, and things like that. But you are not going to be put out as mail pieces as someone running for state rep or county board. I think you are going to have to do more mailing on that level.

If you are in an area that doesn’t vote your way party wise, you are really going to ramp it up with independents. So in this area, I would spend money on buying lists of independents that could match up with you on a specific issue. I would target multiple mailings and multiple robo-calls and perhaps it is cable ads and things. We will get into the advertising plan in a minute.

But you are going to have to get to those people. You are going to have to convince that they want to vote for you because of the issues. It is only way you are going that you are going to win if you live in a district that leans say anywhere from fifty-two percent on up Democrat and you are running as a Republican. It is just the way of the world.

I live in Illinois and it is tough. But we can win with enough money and targeting those independent voters on specific issues. And if you’ve got a little scandal going on, that’s always hopeful. Don’t forget that as something that you want to write about: cleaning up your school board, cleaning up whatever issues is happening in your community.

So the mail plan is going to have households, how many different mailings you are going to have and a theme for that mailing. And then you are going to figure out the cost of it. And that is based on what kind of piece you are going to send.

You are going to catch up with your designer if you haven’t already gotten one. And you are going to find out what their costs are. They are going to design your logo, your look, and your website, but they are going to design these mail pieces so what goes out looks professional and looks good.

If you’ve recruited somebody to do this for free for you, that’s great. If you are in a local race, why not? It doesn’t have to be really slick. But perhaps there is something out there with an eye for this and a little bit of tech savy. Perhaps you’ve got a relative, a friend, a high schooler, or a college kid. And if you are going to have to pay a little bit to do that, that’s fine. There are professionals out there.

You are going to get a hold of your designer, but you are going to find out what those costs are. And often you can get a volunteer to help you price this stuff. If the designer doesn’t regularly work with a printer and they don’t know the cost, you can get a hold of the printer and you can get a hold of a mail house.

You are going to have to think about using a mail house so that things can be sent at bulk rates. You do not want to be stamping and doing a whole lot of licking and printing out labels and all of that. It’s often much cheaper to send through a mail house. They can get cheaper rates when they use their bulk rate indicia.

However, the problem with bulk rates is they go slow. Things that go out bulk need a longer lead time, hence your plan. You are going to think about it. You are going to start preparing these materials months in advance and have them ready to go. Often you can get a little better deal from the printer if the printer has some lead time and a little bit of flexibility on getting things done and printed. So that’s your mail plan.

You are going to have an advertising plan. An advertising plan is just that. Where are you going to run ads? Is there a local radio station? A local newspaper? Local targeted cable TV is often very effective.

Regular major market TV and major market radio are only if you are running in a large race. It pays if you are running a congressional race or something and is well covered by those. But for a smaller race, you are spending too much money and it is probably covering too big of an area.

You want to think about social media ads. Facebook ads are very effective in a campaign. Of course you’ve got a website. You’ve got all of that built into your regular overhead cost. Your website is there. Your kind of ongoing email to volunteers is in your staff and overhead budget. That is probably the first budget that you are building that is part of your campaign plan.

But the advertising plan could also include things like you are going to do some videos. So the thing to think about here with the advertising budget is how many times are going to use that medium and for how long? That’s one of the beauties for something like Facebook; you can set a small budget, target how many people are going to try to reach, and it just turns off after that. So that’s really handy.

Again, like I said, you are going to think about how many people you want to reach, how long you are going to do this, and at what point. You are going to plan this well in advance. And that little plan is going to be a page in the master plan. The total from that budget is going to come over to your master budget.

Earned media- You can have an earned media plan. This one is harder to predict. Earned media tends to happen when you’ve got a hot issue breaking in the news. However, you can plan to have some press releases go out on a regular basis. Do you have to hire somebody part time to this? Can you do it with a volunteer? Is there a computer volunteer?

Do they have lists of media? Or do you have to purchase that? There are services to do that. And what are you going to talk about? You can figure out on your plan for earned media when you are going to announce. That is going to be an announcement that is going to go out in earned media and go out to all of the radio stations and newspaper in the area.

You can ramp up a campaign for letters to the editor. That can go in your earned media plan. Is there much you need here? Not a lot. Maybe postage, but most things are done with email now so you don’t even need that. But you should have a plan. And it should be spelled out and it should be part of your master plan and coordinate with everything else going on in the plan.

And then you are going to get to your finance plan, your fundraising plan. And what you need to do that is you need to have your other little plans finished. How much money do you need for your field operation? How much money do you need for your mailings and your mail plan? How much money do you need for your advertising and your advertising plan?

Often I design a plan at three levels. You’ve got one that is a minimal plan, just kind of getting by, another plan that is a Chevrolet if you will (middle of the road), and then there is the Cadillac plan. Boy, if we could raise a lot of money, what would we like to do?

So the finance plan can also be based on that. And you can set your goals and targets. I always say go for the Cadillac and if you miss, you can figure out where to cut back because often you will. You just won’t have enough money or manpower. But you’ve got to try.

The finance plan consists of some different areas. The first thing is there is a little overhead here. Do you have staff in this area? Do you need money for stamps, mail, and things like that?

Asks- how many voters do you need to meet with to get to your financial goal? The majority of your money is going to be raised from asks. Do not count on e-fundraising, that people are just going to go to your website and click on it. I usually only put that in as gravy. I work at it. I push it. But the money that comes in there can be minimal and you don’t want to count on it.

Your number one thing you want to plan on is how much you are going to ask individuals for, who are those individuals and how much are you going to ask from each one? You are going to have to take some guesses on how many referrals you can get and how many meetings with those referrals you are going to get in.

You are going to break down into how many phone calls a week you are making for money and, if you want, even per day, and how many meetings per week you are going to make to ask for money. You can have a major event.

If you go back to Commonwealthy #33, How to Raise Money for Political Office with Brandon Lewis, his whole method is having one targeted event where everything comes together. You’ve got all of your donors lined up on that event as sponsors, as patrons. That event is the focus and where the money comes together.

That can work. That is his method. I prefer to keep asking a long the way, but I like to ask for individual things. I’ll go back to my field plan and go to a donor and say, “I need two thousand dollars to buy ten thousand of these walk cards. Can you contribute to my campaign to purchase these walk cards for me?”

Or “I have an advertising budget of ten thousand dollars and it includes this number of cable buys and this number of ads in the local newspaper. Here is what I am going to do. Can you help me with five thousand of that ten thousand dollars?”

You might want to go back to Commonwealthy #35, Asking for Money in a Political Campaign. Here I talk about how you do that one on one ask. But you do need to plan. You are going to get to X amount of people every week to ask for money. Because if you don’t plan it and you don’t have a goal of meeting that expectation every week, you will put it off. It is human nature.

One of the things that I do with coaching people is that is one of the first things I help them do if they want help with fundraising. I have them make a list. And then we put down how many of those we are going to call and exactly who we are going to call when. And if they don’t get reached that week, they go back on the list for the next week.

When they report in to me every other week on how many calls they’ve made and how many people they’ve talked to or how much money they’ve raised, we discuss, “How did it go? How come you didn’t make the calls? How come you did? What went right? What went wrong?” I help you get through the hurdles and the stumbles and the things that are holding you back with fundraising.

But you’ve got to have a plan. You’ve got to have goals. And you’ve got to reach them if you are going to win.

So you are putting together the finance plan and you are going to have asks in there. If you are going to do fundraising events, these are not field events. If you are doing an event for volunteers to get them to come out and get pumped up, that should go in your field plan.

If you are having events as fundraisers and they are smaller dollar, okay; get that in your plan. When is it going to be? Where is going to be? What is it going to cost to do it? How many people need to show up to break even? How are you going to reach them? Will you be sending out emails? Will you be sending out postcards or letters? When do those invites go out?

And how do they follow up with you? Who do you know is coming and not coming? Can you get sponsors for that event? If it is a pizza party, can you get the restaurant to provide the room for free and perhaps a donor to pay for the pizzas? All of that has to get spelled out in advance. It doesn’t happen on the fly. It gets thought about right now in June or July. And you doing this for September and October.

Quite frankly, hopefully you are doing this even earlier. If you are running for 2017 and this June of 2016, you are figuring out and putting together perhaps your first event in September of 2016 and perhaps one right after the general elections in late November because Christmas is not going to be good. And then things for January of 2017.

Are you going to be doing any direct mail fundraising? Often that is done on a small scale for the local campaign. You think of people you know and send them a letter, like, “I am running for office.” It is a good thing to do that perhaps right in the beginning in your campaign to ask for a donation, to ask for them to help, to let them know you are running, why you are running, and what you are running for.

Put a card in there or an envelope and a little checkoff card that they will help with X amount of dollars. Perhaps you want to set some different levels or ask them to pay for something specifically on the card. Put in a way that they can send something back to you.

The other thing is it gets in their mind that you are running before you call them. So when your call comes, it is not a surprise that you are calling them that you are running for office. You have introduced yourself as a candidate. So you might want to think about how many people are on your list and that you are going to mail to them early on.

And then there is e-fundraising. Your website should have somewhere to donate. It should be really obvious. There should be a donate page or a big donate button even on the front page. It takes them somewhere like Paypal to sign up, somewhere they feel comfortable.

You want to be asking for donations in things that you mail to people that might be supporting you. You might do that in your early mailings to Republicans if you are running as a Republican. And you might also be doing something with your social media to be reminding people that they can donate to you.

So that’s your finance plan. Again, you are going to figure out how many people you are trying to reach and set dollar amounts and dollar goals for every week, every month, and for the entire campaign. That goes back into your master campaign plan and budget. You are getting that another smaller grouping in there. You are brining that budget item into your master plan so that you know it is there.

Some things you might want to think about for your master plan is if you will need an attorney. What’s that attorney going to cost you? Do you need to have any provisions for something out of the ordinary?

You might want to have a little surplus built into your plan. Why? What if there is a recount? What if there is trouble of some sort and you need to respond? A little emergency fund is not a bad idea unless you want to go dipping into your own pocket.

And I warn you: do not dip into your pocket for too much. Do not get crazy at the end and think you are just going to have to borrow from yourself and pay yourself back after you win. What if you don’t win?

So yes, you want to put a little money in of your own. You want to think about that early on. But then in your plan, you want to go get it from other people because when they give to you, they are vested in you. They are going to help you. You want to do that.

So the campaign plan and budget is a pretty involved, time consuming process. You need to give all of this thought. Think about it. It can evolve as the campaign goes on. You can add some things or cut back. But if you add, you’ve got to add to your fundraising plans. You’ve got to make those changes in the plan.

And it is also the document that you need to stick to. People tend to get off plan and want to respond to this attack or know their opponent is doing that. You can change your mail pieces up if you want to attack on an issue if something has come up in the media and in the news or with your opponent. That’s great.

You should be ready to make quick changes, but your plan should have thought about those possibilities and have some flexibility built into it. You want to stay on track and you want to hit your goals. That is what is important here.

If you need help drafting a plan or part of this plan, I am available. I am john@commonwealthy.com. This is what I do for candidates. And I am good at keeping candidates accountable on their plans. I help you put together your plan. I come back and review it. I tell you where I think there is holes and weaknesses.

And I also can tell you if it if big enough. Most candidates do not think big enough in their campaign. I often see someone that is running for state rep and their plan looks like it is not enough to run for school board. I see people running for Congress who come with a state rep size plan.

It takes a lot. It takes a lot to let people know you are there. They are not paying attention and it takes a lot of effort to convince them. So think bigger. Plan bigger. Go for more. You can always miss and still win if you went too big. So keep that in mind. And if you need help, I am john@commonwealthy.com.

Please go back and take a look at our index of podcasts. There’s lots of information here. If you know of anybody that is thinking about running for local office in 2017, why don’t you have them reach out to me? I happy to give them a free half hour consultation. I can get them going. Often that is all that somebody needs to get started and they are off to a winning campaign.

I have a new slogan moving forward on the podcast. That is “Let’s quit talking. Talk is cheap. Let’s win some elections.” If we are going to have any influence and make a difference, we have to get elected to local offices. Let’s win some elections.

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