I’ve written about this before, so for some of you, this will be old hat.  But I have this crazy notion that a functioning Democratic Party should field candidates every cycle, in every election.  Right now, our friends on the wrong side of the aisle have fielded, or are imminently going to be fielding, candidates in countless elections.  But yet, with only a little more than a year out, we have not.

“But Steve,” you might say (to yourself, because I am not there), “we still have a minute until qualifying even starts.”

“Well,” I casually respond.  “Elections don’t start on qualifying day.  They start months and years beforehand.”

In 2014, Republicans will be defending eight Constitutional Officers, and right now, we only have a potential candidate for one of them.  They will be defending countless State House and State Senate seats.  And, to top that all off, we still have Congress, with many open seats thanks to Saxby’s retirement.

Now, speaking of the Senate, we have some fantastic people running.  I’ve met Sen. Miles, Michelle Nunn, and Dr. Rad, and all three of them are impressive.  I understand, as well, that there are two other candidates running for the Democratic nomination, neither of whom I can place.  But yet we have nobody running for Insurance Commissioner against the despicable Ralph Hudgens.  Nobody running for School Superintendent.  Nobody running for Congress in GA-01.  You get the idea.

I have a passion for helping to recruit candidates for office.  I think that should be obvious by this point.  And you all should know my e-mail address by this point.  If you don’t, it’s president@georgiayds.org.  If you have ever thought about running for office, send me a message.  2014 might just be the right time.

No, I’m not promising you an endorsement.  I’m not promising you resources.  Nor can I assure you a clear field.  But what I can promise you is an attentive ear attached to the brain of a passionate Democrat.  We need people running in every corner of our state, for all offices.  And we need to start now.


You know what to do.


7 Responses to The Importance of Running for Office

  1. JMPrince says:

    Yes, Dr. Diane Evans is good people, and will hopefully do well, and worthy of our support. That said, and in reasonable agreement with the above, it also bears mentioning in a meta universe some predictable points of constant friction here & now:

    1.) It now costs way to much to participate in elective politics, even on a very local level. And no, this has not nearly ‘always been the case’ either. And there’s actually many complex reasons for this & how it came to pass.

    2.) There are very few folks who have the built in network necessary for the job either. Most of us, even in professional circles know some fairly successful folks. Most of them will either be ‘non political’ or range from fairly ‘unhelpful’ to plain ‘useless’ for many of the purposes we may need of them. It’s a constant game of ‘pick up’ as far as coalition building and networking, and few have the time or ever develop the skills to maintain such networks outside of work or job related activities.

    3.) Much like service in the National Guard there are very few folks able or willing to put their working lives on hold when they want to go and serve their community & state. If we then need or require them to possess a certain amount of cash and/or bootle to front their ambitions, and/or wealthy patrons willing to do the same? Then we’ve recreated a natural sort of aristocracy at once familiar to almost every functional monarchy known.

    4.) This said, we’ve got to admit that many of our erstwhile candidates possessed few if any of the qualities Tim & Steve mentioned. Far worse is their continued ignorance or even unwillingness and outright refusal to do many of the things that may be helpful to their success or even modest improvement.

    5.) That said, we can also see that we are now being beaten by a class of ‘know nothing’ candidates of rigid ideology who often represent the worst of their party and polity, often regardless of their qualifications, pedigree, history or even imagined ‘skill-set’.

    So education will hopefully help some. Getting and motivating better candidates would be nice too. Having both, good candidates who are willing to do the things that are necessary for a good showing would be more ideal. But day in and day out, unfortunately we’re often working with the ‘army that we’ve got’, which is often & typically sub-optimal almost everywhere. Actually developing and training an ‘army of political activists’ who might be able and willing to step up into the fray one day, is an expensive proposition and a long term goal that starts years before they even engage in the first steps described above. And there seems to be very little understanding of this fact.

    It’s why I support the YD’s and still work, hope & pray for deliverance from suffering the mis and mal-governance we see here and elsewhere every day. JMP

  2. Waldo says:

    Speaking of…

    There will be special elections this November in HD 100, HD 104, HD 127 and SD 14.

    Besides Dewy McClain for 100, who is on deck?

    Rep. Morgan has let it be know she will run for school superintendent. Might be smart to get lined up in HD 39 for next year.

    • Steve says:

      Dr. Diane Evans will be running for the late Quincy Murphy’s seat. I spoke with Dr. Evans, and she is pretty impressive. GADCC Secretary, active Democrat, and an all around nice lady. A good get, I’d say.

  3. Tim Cairl says:

    And to add on to that. A HUGE reality check needs to happen early on with these candidates.

    1. If you are running for state house in say Habersham or Screvens, getting you elected will require a near act-of-God and more money than you ever thought possible.

    2. Coming to Atlanta for a fundraiser is not going to raise you hardly any cash unless you have spent years working in a professional field here and can leverage all those contacts.

    3. No one is going to come do your canvassing and phone banking for you.

    4. No one is going to do your fundraising for you, or provide members of your family with a job.

    5. If you cannot devote a full-bore 4 months, all day every day to the campaign, do NOT sign up.

    6. If however, you have a strong sense of purpose for running for office, if you have spent a few years developing a personal and professional network of friends and colleagues, if you are aware of state legislative issues that have been happening for the past ten years (i’m speaking the big ones not every minor one, but particularly the ones affecting your local area and the entire state too), and if you have already sat down and talked to your family members, your employer (if applicable), and your close friends and neighbors about this, then yes, start planning now.

    This is all in experience from having worked and volunteered both for candidates, the state party, the house caucus, and many others. So many candidates are sugar-coated when thinking of running or attending a training, when really the gloves need to come off and some honesty needs to happen.
    Ah, expectations, such a movable game.

    • Steve says:

      Nothing you said there was wrong.

      Which is why people should come to YDGU in October. This is stuff we can learn people.

  4. Jules says:

    Thank you Steve. The part of planning to run for elected office resonates with me so keenly.

    It’s funny when potential new candidates approach me and they seem baffled that I have questions and tasks for them. Really? This baffles you? Honestly I can’t think of any other profession people think they can wake up one morning and do well.

    If you are a trained purchasing agent with 15 years experience would you ever say “I think I’ll be a plumber, start my own company and ask all my friends to drop everything give me money and work for me for free? ”

    Why do folks think they can just be an elected official because they saw three episodes of the West Wing?

    Frankly I’d rather them watch House of Cards, at least then they wouldn’t be all pollyanna about it.

    This is why I think we also need to be in the recruiting candidates business. Looking at the data, the political landscape, create a profile of the ideal candidate go looking for that person instead of being so personality driven or desperate we’ll take anyone.

    I can think of several State House seats that could be targeted with the perfect storm of community engagement, candidate with a local profile, money and a plan.

    If all this is happening, well then yay us.