Running for office is a daunting task. There are countless steps to take before your name is printed on the ballot.
The Valdosta-Lowndes Chamber, Home Builders Association of South Georgia and Valdosta Board of REALTORS® co-hosted their fourth Campaign Academy, a two-night workshop series designed for hopeful candidates and their campaign committees to learn tips on running a successful campaign from the Lowndes County Board of Elections, current and former elected officials, and Landmark Communications, one of Georgia’s top campaign consultants.
Mark Rountree, president of Landmark Communications, took the floor as the first evening’s keynote speaker.
Described as the “go-to guy for the 1,500+ campaigns that he has managed” by the Chamber’s Government Affairs Council Economic Development Division Chairman, Gary Wisenbaker, Rountree is an expert when it comes to running a successful political campaign. His presentation focused on writing a campaign plan, messaging, targeting swing voters, fundraising and polling.
Knowing that many new candidates are eager to jump in, Rountree urged them to start slowly and construct a stable plan before raising their profiles.
“Everybody wants to start making speeches and go door-to-door at the start of a campaign, but they haven’t put together the fundraising side or completed their campaign plan yet,” Rountree shared. “Campaigns that win are those that have first focused on fundraising and strategy, then moved forward.”
Lowndes County Board of Elections representatives were on hand both nights to provide detailed information about qualifying to run for office and the reporting requirements that can derail a campaign if not adhered to carefully. Would-be candidates had the opportunity to experience the new voting equipment being used throughout Georgia.
An added bonus for night two of Campaign Academy was the roundtable discussion with current elected officials who shared their experiences and advice with participants, who shared tips for effective communication with voters through radio, television, newspaper, billboards and social media.
Chamber president Myrna Ballard says it’s important to continuously groom our community’s future elected leaders. “Our Government Affairs Council wants to make the process a little easier to understand and navigate for anyone interested in running for public office, but especially for those who have a pro-business orientation,” Ballard said. “Communities with elected leaders who understand the essential role the business community plays are Georgia’s most successful and prosperous communities.”
For further information, The Lowndes County Board of Elections can be reached at 229-671-2850 or by emailing Deb Cox at firstname.lastname@example.org.
PHOTO CAPTION: Chamber Government Affairs Council Chairman, John Page and Military Engagement Division Chairman, Nick Lacey join keynote speaker, Mark Rountree (center), President of Landmark Communications.