Battle plan(ning) . . . KFB seminar helps candidates prepare for campaigns

Posted on Mar 3, 2014
“Get your message out.”

More than 30 candidates for a variety of offices participated.
More than 30 candidates for a variety of offices participated.

That phrase was repeated over and over to participants in KFB’s Campaign Management Seminar last month. Cody Lyons, who is Director of Grassroots and Policy Advocacy for AFBF, repeated it four times early in the program to underscore the importance of communicating to the electorate. “You will be sick of hearing that by the time this is though,” said Lyons, who conducted the two-day program.

The popular event attracted 32 candidates or spouses of candidates in political races that included state representative, county judge-executive, magistrate, district court judge, jailer, county clerk and family court judge.

Lyons, who ran the event with the intensity of a military drill instructor, said early on: “You don’t run for the exercise; you run to win.”

The program encompassed six areas crucial to good campaigns:

  • -The Candidate. This involves evaluating the candidate and the electorate, plus determining the role of the spouse.
  • -The Issues. This involves selecting a campaign theme and issues, plus handling aggressive interviews.
  • -The Money. This involves budget preparation, raising money, using a finance committee and making the required public reports.
  • -The Media. This involves handling interviews.
  • -The Organization. This involves a campaign structure, role of the campaign manager, support committees, promotions, volunteer recruitment and coordination, developing allies and coalitions and working with the news media.
  • -The Strategy. This involves identifying voters, targeting precincts and special interest groups, using polls plus election day activities.
Associated activities included mock television interviews in front of a KFB camera. The interviews were played back for group review.

AFBF’s Cody Lyons gives an overview of the agenda for the two-day seminar.
AFBF’s Cody Lyons gives an overview of the agenda for the two-day seminar.

Another helpful aspect was watching a video series that showed how “Lawrence Turner,” a dairy farmer in a rural county who was running for the state senate, was transformed from a poor to an excellent candidate. The first segment showed the candidate boring the audience during a speech to a civic group. But after Turner was trained, he became dynamic and inspiring.

Lyons told the group “every candidate should get an evaluation of themselves. Evaluations help you maximize area where you are strong, but also identify your weaknesses.”

Among the advice he offered was a warning about having the spouse as campaign manager.

“That’s a good way to wreck a marriage,” he said matter-of-factly.

Tagged Post Topics Include: AFBF, Campaign Management Seminar, Cody Lyons, Grassroots and Policy Advocacy, KFB