It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, It’s Someone on Campaign!

7 Apr

The cost of running for office in the United States is extremelyhigh. Fund-raising is a year-round job for people running for any office.  In fact, American campaigning is the most expensive in the world. According to The Economist, $4 billion was spent in the 2004 congressional and presidential elections.

It is hard to wrap your mind about that much money, but The New York Times helped explain the costs associated with the 2008 preliminaries. Candidates file and indicate their spending with the Federal Election Commission. For example, Obama reported the salaries of 508 people on his campaign staff.  Mitt Romney spent $300 on makeup for his first debate. Hilary Clinton’s staff spent almost $1300 on pizza. Obama paid $1700 for a band called Double Funk Crunch to play at a rally in California. There are other things to consider, such as the cost of hotel rooms. However, reports do show that they have chosen economy hotels such as Best Western and Holiday Inn.  Transportation, rental halls, banners, and other forms of advertising also contribute  largely to the budget.

The standard fundraiser in Washington is the luncheon or dinner on behalf of the candidate. The idea of these $2,000 per person dinners is to show your support for the candidate and have contact with him or her. Other fundraising techniques include direct mail and telemarketing. My grandmother often receives calls asking for her donation to the Republican party. They are also able to research in their databases that throughout the years she has been a consistent donor.

Through the internet, candidates are able to track down certain demographics from online databases. For example, a Kerry support organization in New Hampshire was able to find the names of Democratic women voters between the ages of 18-30 interested in abortion rights. A strong web presence also helps significantly with fund raising.

Candidates could by no means hit the campaign trail alone. Consultants employed by candidates include writers, graphic artists, computer experts, advertising experts, radio and television producers and public relations specialists. These people make sure that events run smoothly down to the last detail and that a cheering crowd is awaiting the candidate. In a single day, a presidential candidate may give 5-7 talks in multiple states.

To work for the government in public affiars, there are some pivitol criteria. The first is knowledge of how public relations and public affairs support business goals. You also have to ask yourself ‘how can I improve the reputation of this candidate or movement?”

Just as it is important for the candidate, it is important for his staff to build a strong web presence and to have an aptitude for technology. Elections have been won and lost over activity on the internet. It is also crucial to build a network of supporters on the web. This brings me to my final point about working on a campaign.

One should establish personal relationships and maintain a certain level of commitment with individuals. Getting personal and getting to know some people supporting the campaign helps the candidate or cause to develop a stronger reputation.


One Response to “It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, It’s Someone on Campaign!”

  1. Barbara O April 13, 2011 at 12:44 am #

    Love the title! I saw your presentation on this and it was really good! Love all the interesting facts that you got when it came to campaigns.

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