Dr. Politics: How to Prepare for Events
By Dwight Patel
We are heading into the hot, hazy, not-so-lazy days of summer for candidates. It starts with Memorial Day weekend, which marks the beginning of the summer festivals season.
This is what you should do in order to be ready for this segment of your campaign:
Compile list of all events in your district or near your district – Then break down the list in order of importance, and whether the event sponsors allow campaigning or not. This is an easy task. If they don’t let you campaign, you can erase that event from your list. However, sometimes you’ll find that it pays not to adhere to the rules. For example, the Taste of Bethesda is a big event, but while they don’t allow candidates to get tables or booths, I would recommend that you attend, walk around in your campaign shirt, meet people and hand out palm cards. In this case, it’s better to ask for forgiveness than permission.
Most counties will have a list of events on their website. This is the link to Montgomery County’s Events Page (https://events.visitmontgomery.com/)
Use the site to get a list of events, pick the ones you want to attend and prioritize them by assigning a number value 1, 2, or 3. The events that you labeled with a “1” are those you definitely want to attend. The “2s” are the ones you’d like to attend if you have the time and will make a sincere effort to attend. “3s” are the events where you may want to just send your volunteers.
Some of the events you should start working on now are aligned with Independence Day celebrations. For Montgomery County, go to your county website and get a list of events in your district or near your district. Set up a location to do a sign wave and hand out palm cards as people walk in. Important: Don’t bother people who are out with their families on Independence Day inside the venue and during fireworks display. Get their attention before they go into the venue.
If you are running for statewide office, you definitely want to spend time at the state fair and the county fair. The State Fair in Maryland is typically the last of the season in September after most of the county fairs. Montgomery County has a large fair that attracts people from all over the county. All local candidates should spend a few nights and weekends at the county fair in August.
In addition to the large sponsored events, you should get a list of high schools in your district that you’ll try to hit in the fall during the Friday night games. While it is next to impossible to hit all events, you need to make priorities. Of course, the first priority for any campaign is that good fundraisers trump these events.
Feel free to reach out to me if you’d like to speak, one-on-one, regarding campaign strategies. You can reach me at Dwight@politicalarchitects.com.