A follow-up to this post, yesterday.
1. The Early Bird Gets the Worm – not always true, but always worthy of consideration. The best campaign I ever witnessed (as a reporter) was in 1989 when Osceola, AR attorney Mike Gibson ran for 18 solid months against entrenched incumbent Rep. Bill Alexander. Gibson lost the primary by the tightest of margins. Today, he would tell you his defeat, and the subsequent decision not to run in the following primary (when he would have almost surely won) were the best circumstances and single best decision me made in his life.
2. Go Big or Go Home – in 1997 I was press secretary for Marion Berry, a Democratic candidate for Congress in Arkansas‘ First Congressional District. The primary was a three-way contest, money was key, and we had every reason to expect a runoff to make it to the general. Two weeks before the primary vote, we made the decision to spend every dollar we had, rather than hold back for the runoff. Good decision. Had we not gone “all-in” we might never have made it to the big dance, which, by the way, we won.
3. It’s What You Know AND Who You Know – there’s no better candidate than one who’s connected AND wise.
4. To the Victor Go the Spoils – Arkansas’ First Congressional District has a history of sending men/women to office and keeping them there. Hopefully, that’s not the case in this season.
5. You Can’t Teach That – the best candidates are born with something God-given, and it can’t be taught or learned.
6. It’s a Two-Sided Coin – public service is a wonderful profession for those who truly are public servants. But executed at its best, it’s grueling. The analogy applies further, unfortunately, in that the best candidate is one skilled in both politics (campaigning) and public service (actually getting things done.) The candidate who excels at both, is rare.
7. It Pays to be a Student of the Game – there is no substitute for a candidate who does his/her homework every single day. The candidates who make a personal habit of study, far exceed the capabilities of those who depend on a staff member to be a student for them.
8. Always Play Like You’re Down – the best run like they’re scared, and as if there’s no tomorrow.
9. Expect the Unexpected – every day. It’s a cruel world out there.
10. A Championship‘s Won One Game at a Time – those who take their eye off the ball and look ahead, often get blindsided in the back field.
11. Just Getting in the Game Requires a Real Gut-Check – any candidate must take serious measure of him/herself to do this right, and well.
13. Things Usually End Up in a Game of Hardball – this is not for the faint of heart.
14. Be True to Yourself – Arkansas’ First District electorate is now looking for someone who’s real, to whom they can relate, who can reach across unnecessary racial and ethnic boundaries, and who will respect and return our heritage to its former glory. You can’t fake that.