Dr. Politics: A To Do List for 2018 Candidates

By Dwight Patel

Congratulations! You guys have all filed for your respective offices, the deadlines have passed, and some of you running in Maryland are lucky enough to have no Democrat challenger.   Those of you without challengers should continue raising money.  Those with primaries should not only keep raising money, but also hit the Republican speaking circuits.  Those with just a Democrat challenger should keep in mind that this is a marathon, not a sprint.  You have 244 days to Election Day. 

During the spring focus on door knocking, hit the swing precincts in your district.  You need to get a schedule of local events and parades in Montgomery County. We have two big Labor Day parades:  one in Kensington, MD and another one in Gaithersburg.  In other areas such as Baltimore County,  I know that Dundalk has a very large Independence Day parade.  Also, now is the time to plan for big holiday events like Independence Day, Memorial Day and Labor Day, as well as Halloween.  Many communities have Halloween parades as well as fall festivals.

Things You Need to Do:

  • If you are running for State House or State Senate, go to Annapolis before the current session ends to meet some of the Republican legislators, and plan to attend a few hearings where your opponent will be.
  • Make a list of all events in your district and near your district.
  • Plan to attend the MCGOP Lincoln Day Dinner on April 25, 2018 with our speaker, former Virginia Governor George Allen. You should buy at least one ticket and place an ad in the program. If you have a couple of volunteers, get a display table at the dinner (more information at MCGOP.com)
  • Plan to attend the MDGOP Red White and Blue dinner on April 17, 2018. This is where the Who’s Who of MDGOP Politics will show up, and is therefore an excellent opportunity to make contacts and find new donors.
  • Order your Palm Cards. Start with 100 – 250 of them. Printron gives the best deals on Palm Cards. Contact Al Mendelsohn at 410.668.7660.
  • Make sure your website is up and running and your donate button is working.
  • Those of you who have campaign managers should be talking to them every other day or least once a week.
  • You should do weekly/bi-weekly or monthly campaign meetings. Start with monthly meetings and switch to twice-monthly meetings in May or June, since you will need to coordinate on the
    growing number of events.  As you get closer to Election Day,  you should do weekly meetings, starting in September.

Items to Remember:

Regarding social media, be very careful what you post. You don’t want to post the wrong thing that may embarrass your campaign, or another campaign (unless it’s your Democrat opponent).  I’d recommend changing your personal Facebook settings so that only your friends can see what you post there.  You should also have a campaign Facebook page, but again be very careful what you post, especially since Dr. Politics hasn’t written anything on crisis management yet.  However, I suggest that you read my recent column on Social Media.  

Also, it’s very important do a handwritten thank you note to donors who give you $250.00 or more.  Read my column on Fundraising and Donor Maintenance.  If you haven’t done so yet, start working on your first Direct Mail or Direct eMail campaign.  Then work on first campaign fundraiser.  Some potential speakers for your event could be Gov. Ehrlich, Amb. Ellen Sauerbrey, state senators and delegates, Congressman Harris or others.  Since Montgomery County is so close to Washington, DC, our candidates have access to speakers from various right-of-center think tanks for speakers at event like yours. 

Another important task: Take the Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) “No New Taxes Pledge.”  Click link to download the pledge,  fill it out and email back to ATR.

Final Thoughts

Remember that the most important thing you can be doing for your campaign and helping Gov. Hogan’s re-election campaign, is this:  When you do your door knocking, hand out two palm cards, yours and the governor’s.  It’s preferable to put the governor’s palm card in front. Since Governor Hogan enjoys high approval numbers in Maryland, people are more likely to open the bag and read his palm card first and then they will see yours.   On your palm card, if no one is at home, leave a “sorry I missed you-type message” and a phone number they can call to get in touch with you.


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