Run for Office
The LGBTQ+ community is one of the fastest growing in Arizona, but representation in local government lags far behind. As voters and advocates, there's a lot we can do to create change and influence decision makers, but we also need queer people in elected office to advance and protect the interests of our community.On This Page
What Should I Run For?
If you're thinking about running for office, there's a good chance you already have your why; maybe you have new ideas about water conservation, or you're frustrated with a major construction project, or you see a group of people who are being failed by society, and you want to help. Refining that why will be key to crafting a strong campaign message, but the first question you have to answer is this: what should I actually run for? If you win your election, you'll want to be in a position where you actually have the leverage you need to change the things you set out to change in the first place. As a U.S. Senator, you might have a lot of influence, but if you decided to run for office to address police conduct in your home city, the powers of your office might not help. By design, governance is distributed between cities, counties, boards, state agencies, the legislature, the federal government, and on and on. Start with your why and research which decision-making body is closest to the problem. Run for that.
What Does it Take to Run For Office?
So you know why you want to run, and you know what you want to run for, but now you actually have to win the votes. Where do you start? It varies depending on the office you're seeking, but the simplest technical answer is to file with the Secretary of State's online candidate portal. The real answer is to talk it out with your loved ones. Get coffee with the people who know you best, and who you can trust to give you unguarded advice. Running for office is a major undertaking, and you can't do it alone. The financial threshold at which you'll need to form a campaign committee is low, so make sure you have someone with domain expertise who can act as your treasurer, and register as soon as you're able. When you're ready, file your statement of interest and start collecting signatures and qualifying contributions to make sure you can actually get your name on the ballot. There's a lot of important details to get right at the beginning of your campaign, and some key metrics to hit, so study those requirements closely. Running a good campaign takes money and time and luck and a lot more, but most of all it takes rigor.
Be a Precinct Committeeperson
The role of the precinct committeeperson, perhaps the most hyperlocal of all elected offices, is often overlooked, but vital nonetheless. The process of running for this office is comparable to running for any other office, but with much simpler requirements, and both the Arizona Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee and Republican Party of Arizona have guides on their websites. Precinct Committeepeople help to register voters and assist voters of their party on Election Day, and they play an important role in shaping the direction of their party. At a moment of major political realignment, being a precinct committeeperson is a valuable way to contribute to the quality of political engagement in our state.
The Citizens Clean Elections Commission
The Citizens Clean Elections Commission is an important part of our elections infrastructure, and their website is a great place to start to learn more about what it takes to run for office. The Commission also administers Clean Elections funding, which candidates can qualify for as an alternative to traditional campaign funding. During the qualifying period before an election, candidates must collect a certain number of $5 contributions from voters (the simplest way is with the online E-Qual system). The number of qualifying contributions required and the amount of funding available depends on the office a candidate is seeking. You can find up-to-date numbers on the Clean Elections website