Campaigning 101: ‘Get used to asking people for money’June 15th, 2011 at 7:00 am by Ted Nesi under Nesi's Notes
Back when I was a reporter in Massachusetts, Harvard Pilgrim CEO Charlie Baker was often mentioned as a potential savior for the state’s underpowered Republican Party. So when Baker threw his hat into the ring against incumbent Gov. Deval Patrick last year, I figured he’d give the first-term Democrat a run for his money.
In the end, it was not to be for the GOP. Patrick defeated Baker 48%-42% in the November election, likely helped by the third-party candidacy of independent Tim Cahill, who took 8% of the gubernatorial vote.
Still, Baker ran a competitive race and clearly learned a lot. He shared 10 of observations Tuesday in an article for CommonWealth magazine that’s a good read for would-be politicians and those who cover them alike. These two stood out to me:
Third, the media will challenge you. It’s not exactly a game of “gotcha,” but anyone who runs for office at any level needs to understand that the journalists who cover your race will test you – deliberately. They will want to know what makes you tick. …
Sixth, get used to asking people for money. Many people say this is the hardest part of any campaign. Perhaps. I had over 520 fundraisers, found over 33,000 donors (and signed thank you notes to every single one), and raised more money than any challenger ever who ran for a statewide office. … Money matters, it’s as simple as that. It may not be pretty, but it’s a fundamental part of the process.
That last point about fundraising is something I’ve heard many times. Particularly for first-time candidates, it’s awkward – but essential – to get comfortable shaking down perfect strangers for cash. Locally, it’s one of the questions everybody has about Brendan Doherty’s campaign against David Cicilline, a proven fundraiser in his own right. How successful will Doherty be in raising money? (He’ll make his first big attempt next week.)
You can read Baker’s whole piece here.