Congratulations on considering running for office in San Benito County! America is fairly unique that we elect leaders for so many different level of offices. Government of the people, by the people, for the people. President Abraham Lincoln certainly knew what he was talking about!
The following information is to get you to being fully informed. Do not let the below dissuade you if you are truly interested in running! Questions are meant to make you a better candidate that can win and make our community better. We want to support you!
Rule #1: Have fun with this! Stepping up and then meeting people is a very positive experience.
Step 1: Do you know why you are running for office? Your community, city, county, state, are constantly changing. Communities grow and shrink, industries and ways of life come and go, different people of influence, good and bad, come into power. Rules from higher offices or those that have broad control, that are influenced by the politics of presidential or gubernatorial administrations and legislative bodies filter down to school & water boards, city councils, and county supervisor chambers. All of this usually leads to some negative effect of community quality of life, except for those who may be in power and capitalize on it for their own interests.
Given the above, if your answer is not to make a difference in your community, it probably means you should think if your particular reason to run makes sense.
Step 2: Do you know the office your are thinking of running for? Whether a board seat where you are 1 of 5, an executive office, such as tax collector, or a legistative office, such as Assemblymember, you need to understand what the role of those office holders are.
Is it a partisan office? In San Benito County, only State Assemblymember, State Senator, and US Representative are "primaried" (Republican or Democrat). This means you will in effect be running twice, once in the Primary (June) where you become your political parties "Nominee", and then again in the General Election in November.
There are nuances to every office at least of modicom of knowledge of what office holders do is important. If you are running for city council, and you have never been to a city council meeting, you should probably start going to cinty council meetings and watch archived meetings. Talking to people who hold or have held those offices would be important.
If you are running for school board and your campaign includes consolidating school districts, you probably need to do some research. If you are running for county supervisor and you campaign on school choice, you need to study over what certain bodies have jurisdiction over.
If you are running for a legislative office and cannot answer what committees you would like to sit on, you need to do some homework.
Click here for some basic information on various offices.
Step 3: Do you know what election area you are in? You must live in the jurisdiction that you are running for (except for U.S. House of Representatives). Board seats including the City Council, County Supervisor, San Benito County Water District, San Benito County Board of Education, San Benito High School District, and Hollister School District have "districts" or "trustee areas" where the residents are put into subsets of the jurisdiction to elect a representative their particular area. Others are "at large" meaning all the residents of a jurisdiction elect one to office.
Step 4: Do you know what running for office involves? Filling out forms - maybe in different counties. Gathering signatures. Getting endorsements. Writing articles. Being interviewed. Going where the public is and introducing yourself. Raising money (if necessary). Buying signs and getting them hung or in people's yards. These are all elements of a campaign, as is the most important one of all: Is your family supportive of your running for office?
Step 5: Do you know what is happening in the jurisdiction you are running for, including each community in the jurisdiction? Running for office means talking to constituents, and they need to know that you are knowledable about what is going on. Most importantly, do you know what concerns them the most? Do you know what most of the people are concerned about?
Step 6: Contact the San Benito County Republican Party and let us know! We want to help in any way possible and have resources available to you. Most of all, we either have members or have friends that have are office holders, previously held the offices, or at least run for office. All are available to us and are a wealth of information.
If we have not scared you of running, click here for helpful information,
I have never been in the public eye and am worried about my life being under a microscope and something embarassing may come out.
We understand. Americans cherish their privacy, inspite of being a very open-records society. Unless you have been convicted of a crime or just experienced financial distress, you probably don't have anything to worry about. People understand that life happens, things like divorces can be messy, and you cannot control family members. Most people will not respect your opponent's trying to run a smear campaign, so most candidates do not run one. In the unlikely event that someone does find something embarassing and you are asked about it by a reporter. A credible response would be,"Yes, that was a long time ago. Life happens and it is what one does as a result that makes one's character, and I believe I have met that test."
I don't know really know anything about the day-to-day operations of the office I want to run for and am afraid I will look like a fool on the first day.
No one really knows what the office entails until they are sitting in the seat. Once you are elected, the administration of the entity that you are now part of will meet with you and fill you in on everything you need to know on day one. Your first meeting may have a "clunky" start, but you will fall into the rythm quickly.