BY JESSICA THURBER
Earlier this week, I asked people why they think there aren't a lot of deaf politicians out there. Some of them pointed to communication difficulties as the reason while others mentioned: "Money." That dreaded word.
After a while, I got curious and started to wonder just how much it costs to run a political campaign at the local level. So, I decided to investigate.
But First Some Basics
You've decided, without a doubt in your mind, to run for a local office. Congratulations! You've taken the first step towards corruption. After putting out feelers and receiving favorable responses from the community, you file the appropriate paperwork. Now, what's next? Quite a bit. The basic necessities for a campaign are:
1. Campaign Staff
You can't do everything yourself. You're not Superman. And that's okay. You need to be focused on getting your message out and meeting people, anyway. This is why you will need a group of people working for you. And FYI, the three must-have positions? Fundraiser, treasurer, and campaign manager. Most of the time, the campaign staff comprise of volunteers. If you're well-liked and have a lot of friends willing to help out, great! If not, be prepared to shell out a few bucks.
2. Social Media
Definitely one of the best things to hit the political landscape. A Facebook and a Twitter account will do what printed ads cannot do, and for free: connect supporters with other supporters. Your social media accounts will generate buzz and ignite discussions. However, this should not be your only online presence. This brings me to:
The best place for a curious voter to learn about who you are and what you stand for. This is likely the first place a person will stumble upon when wanting to learn more about you.
4. Advertising (Print/Radio/Television)
All of those annoying television ads? Yup. It's a necessary evil. Because most of the older voters aren't known for being tech-savvy, they rely on the good, old-fashioned communication methods of printed ads, radio spots, and television commercials. To say that this is something you should invest in is an understatement. Make this a priority. Remember: the older voters are the ones who are most likely to show up at the polling places.
The Final Answer
So, how much do people and a whole lotta advertising cost? This site says it costs approximately $3 per voter. The final calculation, of course, depends on your location and the kind of marketing you want to do.
Let's pick Rochester, NY for this guesstimation. There are around 220,000 people living in the Rochester area. But before you freak out about the potential costs—remember that not everyone is registered to vote. Let's say half of them are registered (110,000) and a half of that number actually get up to vote. This leaves us with 55,000 likely voters. Generally speaking, you need more than half of that number to vote for you (27,50o+) in order to win.
The power of the calculator tells me it costs $90,000, give or take, to run a local campaign. And if I were you, I'd round it up to $100-110k for cushion.
So, there you go. If you want to learn more about starting a campaign, this site has some pretty good articles.
ABOUT JESSICA THURBER
Jessica Thurber graduated from Rochester Institute of Technology in 2006 with a BFA in Graphic Design and is the founder of Deaf Politics.