Learn how the Central Florida Political Leadership Institute (PLI) helps business-minded aspiring and exploring candidates and political appointees “win the starting line.”

If you’re seriously exploring or even thinking about a run for elected office — whether it’s soon or in the future — this election season provides you with a unique opportunity to take an inside peek into how campaigns work and build important relationships for the future.

Why does it matter? 

Allow me to share a key observation from many years of working in high-profile political campaigns that most first-time candidates either miss or ignore:

…how you start will likely determine how you finish. So, start strong.

In the Central Florida Political Leadership Institute, our training for business-minded aspiring and exploring candidates (as well as political appointees) reveals strategies for what I call “winning the starting line.”

Apply for the 2022-2023 Central Florida Political Leadership Institute class by Friday, August 26. The program is free to participants. Learn more.

The objective is for a candidate to enter the race as already formidable, which will improve the odds of winning by keeping potential opponents on the sidelines or at least freezing or limiting the ability of competitors to raise money and line-up support.

To achieve that, prospective candidates will need to use their pre-campaign period as a time to line up donors, establish relationships with community and political leaders and position themselves in public, among other strategies.

Engaging in the election cycle will allow prospective candidates to accelerate that process.

Here’s how to start:

  • Identify a like-minded competitive candidate of the same political party in a local or legislative race, where you can have the greatest impact. If you’re not affiliated with either party, choose a candidate with whom you are most-closely aligned. 
  • Financially contribute to the campaign and offer to raise money. This will allow you to connect with the campaign’s key finance leaders who one day may be your donors.
  • Volunteer in a grassroots role. Whether this involves door-to-door canvassing or calling targeted voters, you’ll be able to view how a key organizational component of a campaign is carried out and use the lessons of what worked and what didn’t in your campaign. 

Even if you decide not to run, you will have gained an important understanding of the political process, supported a candidate you believe in and may discover new relationships which will open new and exciting doors for engaging in your community.