Starting a campaign to run for Congress is a nerve-racking time for many individuals. After spending a lot of time contemplating whether or not it’s even worth going after a coveted spot, there’s a ton of work with no guarantee of success. Just having the courage to start the campaign process is a big indicator of character.

Elijah Norton is currently considering a run in Arizona, just like many have thought about putting together a campaign in other parts of the United States. What makes a successful campaign in the end? What goes into running in the first place? By understanding what goes into running for Congress, it makes a lot more sense.

Early Setup

Before any campaign for Congress can actually start, some of the early stages of the setup process need to be ironed out. For example, potential candidates must be at least 25 years old and a United States citizen for at least seven years. On top of that, they need to live in the state they’re running for, but not necessarily the area they are representing (however, it almost always helps).

Meeting with either the Democratic or Republican party locally is also part of the early planning that must take place. The United States is a two-party system, so it’s virtually impossible to get enough votes without aligning with one side or the other. In some cases, getting their endorsement first and winning the primary is the only way to have any chance whatsoever.

Secure Funding

Funding is a vital part of the process when running for Congress. It gets more expensive every time a new election is held, and that trend will likely not stop anytime soon. Whether it’s advertising, paying for a few people to help with the campaign, or countless other expenses, a successful campaign can easily top $1 million.

It’s not always the case, but the cost of a campaign usually depends on the location of a district. Competitive, big districts in wealthy areas tend to cost more than the norm. That puts Elijah Norton in a tough situation, as Arizona’s sixth district is one of the wealthiest in the United States. To win against a six-time incumbent, the cost will go up in a hurry.

Form a Dependable Team

The only way a person will run for Congress in today’s world successfully is to have a dependable team on their side. Even the most ambitious candidate will be unable to do everything themselves. They usually require adding several members of the team. Although many of the team’s people will be volunteers, there will be some paid positions that need to be addressed.

A team can help with just about anything that is put on the table of a candidate. This keeps everything organized and allows people not to feel overwhelmed that they are doing everything themselves. Once the team gets big enough, members can be split off into different groups to have specific focuses.

Something as big as running for political office is when a candidate should call in favors and ask for as much help as possible. Those who believe in the candidacy will likely be here to help. Remember that there are different ways for people to help, whether it be doing some of the dirty work for the team or donating towards the cause.

Run with a Purpose

Some campaigns for political office have not been organized with any type of particular purpose. By that, it means having a plan already set and ready to go if elected. Voters like confidence, and hearing about the plan after winning can show the type of confidence someone has.

A mistake that some make when running is that they try to become too neutral with their stances. This is especially true in the primaries, as it pits two candidates against each other from the same political party. A candidate like Elijah Norton can share many similar thoughts to his competition, but it’s focusing on the differences that will allow someone to stand out.

It’s not about creating drama or making everything seem like a show, but having a purpose while running will be beneficial in the end. Taking the extra bit of time to craft that purpose pays off in huge ways.

Be Ready for Anything

It’s hard to predict what will happen in any type of campaign for political office. The best advice many candidates receive the first time they run is to be ready for anything. There could be some last-second changes, new information that comes out on an opponent, or anything for that matter. As one example, no one could’ve expected two years ago that candidates would need to know so much about COVID-19. Candidates have won and lost based on how they’ve handled the pandemic.

One of the best ways to be ready for anything is to stay relaxed and as informed as possible. Reducing the chances of getting caught off-guard will cut back on any tough moments. That is sometimes easier said than done, but preparation is key.