Are you thinking about running for political office?

Before you start raising money, make a public announcement, or start assembling a volunteer staff, you’re going to want to know what you’re getting yourself into and feel confident that you’ve asked yourself the right questions. The last thing you want to do is to make an announcement that you’re running for office only having to retract it later.

It’s quite common for candidates to get ahead of themselves. You have a deep motivation to affect change and are eager to get started. But all candidates would be wise to answer these 23 questions first!

About the Office

I am thinking about running for… What is the name of the office you’re running for?

It is important that the next person holding this office… List specific traits and qualifications that this office-holder must have in order to do a good job.

I am qualified to serve in the office because… List at least three specific reasons.

Is this a partisan office (Republican, Democrat, etc.) or a non-partisan office?

How long is the term of this office?

Is this office considered a “full time” or “part time” responsibility?

What requirements are there to run for this office and do you qualify? (Age, geographic location, requirements of living in the district for a certain period of time, etc.)

What is the date of the election? Will there be a primary?

What do you need to win? (Does this office require a simple majority (i.e. more than 50%) or other?)

About Your Core Network

Have you discussed a potential campaign with your spouse or partner?

Have you discussed a potential campaign with your closest friends?

Will a campaign conflict with your employment?

Will a campaign conflict with other responsibilities?

Time Commitment

Will running for this position require a leave of absence from your job?

Will running for this position be manageable with your current work/life schedule?

How many hours per week will you set aside for campaigning?

Is the position you are seeking a full-time post? Part time? Evenings only?

Have you spoken to someone in the position who can describe the time commitment?


Are you current with your local, state and federal taxes?

Do you have outstanding parking tickets or other debts owed to local, state, or federal government?

Are you willing to spend some of your personal finances on this race? If so, how much are you willing to spend?

What have previous candidates for this office spent or raised?

Are you willing to ask friends, family, and strangers to donate to your campaign? If not, are you willing to fund it yourself?

Download This Worksheet

Want these questions in a worksheet format? Enter your email below. BONUS: You’ll also get a sample version containing example answers to all of the questions.

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