Every candidate knows that endorsements are useful to her or his campaign, but how do you go about earning them? This blog post will cover the how to’s as well as possible sources of endorsements for your campaign.
Why Endorsements Matter
Endorsements are a useful metric for voters to quickly assess what you stand for. This is especially true in primaries, down ballot races, and other low information elections. Research has shown that endorsements (or otherwise listing various issues you’ll work on) allow voters to scan the information and see the issue/cause they identify with and to realize “Oh, they care about [insert an issue] too. This is my candidate.”
Endorsements are also a way for savvy voters and potential donors to assess the viability of your campaign.
Some endorsements come have the added benefit of coming with resources, such as money, volunteers, or publicity to the organization’s membership.
Possible Sources of Endorsements
Unions (labor, teachers, firefighters, police, etc.)
Environmental groups (e.g. your state chapter of Sierra Club)
Women’s rights groups (National Organization for Women, NARAL Pro-Choice, Vote Pro-Choice)
LGBTQ rights groups
Immigrant rights groups (CASA)
Gun control groups (Moms Demand Action)
Advocacy groups for transit, education, campaign finance reform etc. (Trailblazers PAC)
Local political organizations (African American/Asian American/Latino Democrats clubs, etc.)
Elected officials (current and former)
Other people of note in your community (civic or PTA leaders, religious leaders)
You can also search online to see what groups made endorsements in your race during the last election.
The endorsement application process varies by organization. Some groups will just require you to complete an endorsement form. Some will require one or more interviews in person or on the phone. Some are just based on who you know and your prior relationships with the group.
A few tips:
Check the group’s website and Facebook page for the application before contacting them to ask for the application.
Adhere to their stated deadlines for applying.
Be honest. Don’t act like the group’s issue is your top issue if it isn’t.
Don’t talk to the national organization if the local chapter hasn’t endorsed you yet.
For national groups: include something compelling about your race. Why should this group get involved? Is there a good chance of flipping a Republican-held seat because Hillary Clinton won the area by a large amount? Does the incumbent have a terrible track record on this issue? What have you personally done on this issue?
Want more advice like this? Try Victory Guide’s digital campaign manager.