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58 of 58 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon April 2, 2001
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
This thin book is excellent at detailing the aspects of successful political campaigns.
It is a very good "how-to" primer. Really an expanded to-do list for organizing and executing a campaign for local office, this book is a fine aid for those new to the process. All the topics are coverd -- from organizing and planning to ordering yard signs, doing brochures and how to get out the vote on Election Day.
As a local candidate myself (six runs for the State House - successful), I can attest to the depth of coverage provided by this book.
It is stripped down, with few words wasted. There is not much background information provided nor framework for the lists of things to do. This will perhaps leave skeptics wanting more information. However, it is a good primer and would be an excellent aid to first time local candidates and campaign managers.
I'm teaching a course in elective politics at the University of Pennsylvania's Fels Center of Government. This is one of the required reading books for the course and is also used by some other teachers in the field at colleges and universities around the country.
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43 of 43 people found the following review helpful
on December 24, 2003
Format: Paperback
My opponent was the favored incumbent. She received the endorsement of the local newspaper AND her name was listed on the ballot before mine. All of these small things added up to sure and sudden defeat, right? Well, not so fast!
I purchased Mayor Thomas' book and followed the recommendations to the letter. Almost every suggestion, if not perfect for my situation, could be modified slightly to fit my situation. I had never run for local office before and had, literally, no idea where to begin. This book contained practical, logical, sound advice. I developed my "inner circle" and we found the "good voters" in just the fashion Mayor Thomas said we would. "How To Run For Local Office" also gave me the confidence to create a detailed plan and stick to it. If you're running for local office, you need to do two things. BUY this book, and hope your opponent doesn't!
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35 of 35 people found the following review helpful
on January 6, 2002
Format: Paperback
I'm a professor at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government and have used several "how to" campaign books over the last 10 years. Most, like this one, are written by very local candidates and have a wonderfully authentic, genuine feel. I like Mr. Thomas' book best of all, and I'm using it again this year. The advice is practical, easy to follow and up-to-date. It compliments other more "theoretical" readings in a political parties or campaigns class. Students often react by thinking, on first reading, that everything is so "obvious" or "common sense," but when I place students as volunteers in campaigns, they tend to be surprised by how many "obvious" things are missed every day. My semi-well-reasoned guess is that 50 percent of local campaigns make very significant strategic or managerial mistakes that wouldn't be made if Mayor Thomas' guidelines were followed.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on January 29, 2000
Format: Paperback
A friend bought me this book for Christmas because I was thinking of running for office. I didn't think much of the book until I sat down to read it. What a great book! This book dosen't waste your time reading through a lot of useless material to get to the point. I already had some ideas as to how I was going to run my campaign. After I sat down to read the book, I realized that some of my ideas would have wasted a lot of my time and money. Now, with the advice from this book I will be able to put on a much more effective campaign. I have a few friends who are thinking of running for office and I plan to do them a favor and buy them this book.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on October 5, 2005
Format: Paperback
I used to consider myself a pro in elective politics on a very small scale, but I lost direction and purpose as I tried to move up the food chain. Indeed, I may have succumbed to the Peter Principle.

As I changed to another career, I eventually discarded all my electioneering material I accumulated over the years, finding that I sorely missed the material once I became involved just recently in a local issue-related campaign.

Hence, my buying "How to Run for Local Office: A Complete, Step-By-Step Guide that Will Take You Through the Entire Process of Running and Winning a Local Election."

I was not disappointed. It contained essentially everything I learned over the years while campaigning. But instead of a shelf of material, all the basics are here in this book.

The one thing that is lacking is a template for campaign plans, event check-off sheets, et al.

First timers, this is a must buy.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I believe the title of my review says it all. Almost.

Before I bought the book, I had never delved into politics. I think that, added to winning two contested elections in two years, says everything.

One for county party committee, one for borough council.

UPDATE: Make that three now on locally elected positions and two for state wide party positions. In 2005, I ran for and won a contested election for Mayor.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on August 29, 2000
Format: Paperback
After becoming very disappointed in the direction of leadership in our local civic organization, a friend of mine and I decided to run as candidates for president and vice-president. We bought this book, followed its strategy and won the election with over 75% of the vote! I later shared this book with a politician friend of mine who decided to run for a high county office in a race against 2 established county officials. He won with over 60% of the vote. I strongly recommend this book!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on July 19, 1999
Format: Paperback
The advice I found in this book was fantastic! It showed me several ways to save a lot of money in a campaign for public office. I really liked the advice in the first two chapters about what to expect when you get into politics. It was a real eye-opener for me. With all that I have learned from this book, I know that my first campaign will be ten times more effective, and I'll save money at the same time! I would recommend this book to anyone who even thinks they might someday run for office!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon May 21, 2007
Format: Paperback
Robert J. Thomas is not a great writer in the conventional sense, but perhaps miraculously, this humble and unassuming 128 page mini-tome is the best book on running for office that I've ever read. Mr. Thomas gives you the information that you need to know without a lot of filler, and he gears the book to the most likely potential readership - the first-time campaigner without a lot of money, connections, or experience. No fluff, no filler, no frills. When I ran for office in 2004, I purchased five how-to-run-a-campaign books (see my other reviews), and this was the best of the bunch. Thank you, Robert J. Thomas! I only got 1.33% of the vote (Green Party candidate in five-way race), but the tips and techniques offered herein probably saved me from an even more humiliating defeat.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on July 19, 1999
Format: Paperback
What an easy book to read. It's written in laymen's terms and it is so easy to understand. The author goes straight to the point on every page. There is no wasted space here. The advise on targeting the voter and how to maximize your time when going door-to-door is worth the cost of the book itself. If you are going to run for a public office, as I plan to, this book is a very wise investment!
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