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Today's Lesson - Correct Campaigning 101

March 31, 2010 - Joselyn King

We have a lot of first-time candidates running for office in 2010, and I strongly suspect most are in need of some campaign advice.

In 15 years of covering politics in the Northern Panhandle and East Ohio, I've seen a lot of candidates and campaigns and made just a few observations.

Now I'm willing to share share some tips. (Just a few, because this is free - LOL.) And I guarantee I've seen at least one candidate over the years make these mistakes.

1) Spell things right on campaign literature -- particularly your name and the office you're seeking.

It may seem obvious, but I can tell you there are many misspellings in campaign-related press releases and merchandise, and I'm not certain they're always typos. The word most often misspelled -- "commissioner."  It has two "m's" and two "s's." Also,  "representative" has both a "t" and an "a" in it.

And if you must use your opponent's name in writing, make sure you spell their name correctly or else you've lost all credibility.(See two blogs ago.)

And while we're on that subject. . . .

2) Whenever you mention your opponent in an ad or just while speaking, you're giving them free publicity on your own dime. Just a thought.

Anybody remember, "Big Daddy's in the house?" That wasn't a Sen. Byrd ad, but I'd say his opponent made a pretty significant donation to his 2006 campaign.

3) Embrace technology. Support traditional advertising with Facebook and Web pages. At least one current congressional candidate -- Democrat Mike Oliverio -- is offering a phone app where voters can obtain campaign information.

Whether the voters partakes in your technology isn't as important to them as that you're applying it. It shows you know the need to get information out, appreciate an open government and are relevant to the times.

4) Carry hand sanitizer and shake hands. But don't touch anything other than the hands.

Again, it may seem obvious. But more than one candidate/elected official seems to think it necessary to touch an arm or the shoulder to create some kind of a moment, I guess. Don't do it. Women especially hate it.

Baby kissing is also an out-of-date cliche. Nobody wants your germs on their kid.


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