Gov: Campaigns and Election


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For most national or state offices, candidates must compete for their party’s nomination in a primary election. If they win this election, they go on to face the nominees of other parties in the general election, held later that year. To participate in a primary, the person running for office must become a declared candidate. Candidates simply declare their interest in seeking election to a public office. Self-announcement is usually done at a press conference or other public event. For presidential candidates, announcements are sometimes made as early as two years before the election. By announcing early, candidates give themselves extra time to raise the funds and the support they will need for the hard primary campaign ahead.

To win elective office, candidates must run a well organized campaign. In most cases, this requires a campaign organization. These organizations vary in size and complexity, depending on the race. At the start of a campaign, candidates typically spend a great deal of time and energy raising money. They hold fundraisers to solicit contributions from major donors. They also organize direct mail campaigns and set up web sites designed to attract funds from small donors.

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