How do you know which elected office is right for you? It’s a hard question we get asked almost everyday, and there is no one right answer. We typically tell potentials candidates to consider the issue they want to work on when in office, and run for the seat that has the biggest impact on that issue. Below are a few more tips when considering a run for office.

  • Look yourself up in the NC Public Voter Search to see exactly what districts you live in and seats you could run for. Learn who represents you at each level and if you agree with their stances or not.
  • Look for open seats. Do research to see who might be retiring or planning to leave office. Pay attention to your local news to learn about major issues in your community.
  • Keep a flexible timeline. If you have to wait a cycle before running, figure out how you can make an impact on your community in the mean time. Work to grow your personal and professional networks before you run for office.
  • Talk to your elected officials and learn what it is like to hold public office. Research the seats you’re interested in by reading about the issues being debated. You can often listen in on debates or even go to the meetings.
  • To prepare yourself to raise money for your campaign, we recommend potential candidates keep a rolodex of their contacts and how much they expect each contact could contribute. This will help you evaluate your fundraising capabilities.
  • Anyone can run for office! Remember, there is no one job or life experience that qualifies you to run for public office. 

Here is a link to job descriptions for various levels of elected office. Each sheet also has the projected costs for each campaign.

We’ve also come across two articles in the recent months that we believe are good resources for women in the early stages of running for office. Read the articles from ELLE and the Huffington Post.

As always you can reach out to Lillian’s List with more specific questions about running for office. Please contact Membership and Training Associate Devon Roberts at devon@lillianslist.org. We are happy to talk to every and any pro-choice progressive woman considering running for office in North Carolina. 

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