How Does Candidate Recruitment Happen?
Candidate Recruitment Doesn't Happen the Way You Think It Does
Candidate recruitment in many places is a lost art form. Contrary to the popular myth, someone from the DNC does not appear on your doorstep one day out of the blue and proclaim that you should be the next state rep. from Omaha. The majority of candidates who run for office are never formally recruited; they recruit themselves. They firmly believe that they can make real change in their community. Sure, legislative caucus and interest groups try and get certain people to run but this is a chicken-and-egg process where folks are interested in good candidates and candidates are interested in running. In my experience, the best candidates are those that have a personal conviction and drive to run. Organizations provide early training and outreach, but you cannot create the drive for public service- you must have that drive from within.
There is good reason for this. Running for office is an entrepreneurial endeavor. You need organize and get your resources together. Continuing beyond that, you need to have experiences that exude the confidence of your potential electorate.
Smart candidates use the time before they run to assess their viability, the district and office they should run for, and what their resources will be. So if you are thinking about running someday, don't wait for the phone to ring and don't let someone tell you how great a candidate you would be, even though it is nice to hear. Do your homework and decide whether running for office and serving in office is really what you want to do.