There are some practical requirements to run for Senate that must be looked after first and foremost. An eligible Senator must be:
- 30 years of age or older
- A United States resident for at least 9 years
- A resident of the state they are running in
A person must also meet certain State requirements for running that will vary depending on which state you live in. This may include registering with the political party and generally being eligible to vote among other things. For instance, in order to get on the ballot Tennessee requires that the person running for the position to:
- Obtain a qualifying petition from a county election commission office or the office of the Coordinator of Elections.
- Have 25 signatures on the petition from the candidate’s legislative district, as well as the candidate’s own signature.
- File the petition by April 5th with the office of the State Election Commission and a certified duplicate in the office of the Coordinator of Elections. As well as a certified duplicate the candidate’s affiliated political party chair.
Once the federal and state requirements have been met, the general business of running for office can begin. Keep in mind that once a candidate has received $5,000 towards their campaign, they must register officially with the Federal Elections Committee within 15 days of reaching that threshold.
There are also some other things to consider:
- It would be helpful to have a solid background in politics, either through education or personal experience. Voters are more likely to take a candidate seriously if they seem to know what they are doing and have the evidence to back it up. This isn’t necessary as successful Senators have come from all kinds of backgrounds, but at least make sure to know the basics.
- Make sure to have a coherent, defined message and stance on issues before running. Not declaring these things first and foremost leaves it open for the competition to sway the public and for the public to become disenchanted easily.
- Stay in the public eye by hosting events targeted to specific groups or industries. By targeting in this way not only keeps the campaign present in the minds of the voters, but it also garners the interest and support of larger organizations or businesses.
- Creating a well-known public persona throughout the constituency can also bring in voters. Seeing a name in the news or listed as a part of organizations helps to solidify you in a person’s memory. It is important to stay in regular contact with a list of people in the media by sending them press releases about your latest speech or event.
- Just because you are voted into the Senate, it does not mean that you’ll make an impact right away. In a New York Times article, former Senator Alan K. Simpson of Wyoming said, “The first couple of years you just try to look like you’re smart. I just tried to dress well and show up and hope they’d think I was smart. The first two or three years were really tough.”
– Chelsea Evans