Customer Reviews: How To Win A Local Election, Revised: A Complete Step-by-Step Guide
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VINE VOICEon April 2, 2001
Someone who wants to be a first time candidate for local office would do well by reading Judge Grey's book. He's actually run and won. As someone else who has won local elections (six for the State House), I can attest to the usefulness of this book.
Grey breaks down campaign functions and issues into small bite sized paragraphs. It's all pretty much covered: fundraising, candidate recruitment, campaign organizations and staff, use of volunteers, election day activities, media, etc., etc. Each chapter focuse right in on the subject with a check list approach to executing each facet of the campaign. The author also provides useful examples of forms and other organizational tools your campaign will want to utilize to organize itself and campaign data.
The style is breezy and matter of fact. Grey uses some of his personal experiences to illustrate his points. This is helpful, since it increases the credibility of the points he's making. The only other book I've found that rivals this "How To" is Beaudry's "Winning Local and State Elections..." Her book is as practically focused but perhaps provides a little more solid framework for the issues presented and is more tightly written. On the other hand, Grey is probably as accessable a book on the subject as one is likely to find.
His appendices are helpful, also. One can pretty much be on their way to structuring a campaign including the campaign plan and schedule thanks to this book. If followed, I suspect candidates will not be able to blame their loss on themselves or their campaign. Some will win due to the promise of superior organization and focus using this book's model will provide.
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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on August 12, 1999
As a novice campaign manager in a local race for county prosecuting attorney, this book was a godsend. Easy to follow, practical, and detailed, I relied upon the advice given in Judge Grey's book to help lead my candidate on to victory! I highly recommend this book as a guide for anyone looking for sound advice on how to plan and execute a strong campaign for an elected office.
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on December 2, 2001
If you have an interest or are planning to run for political office, buy two copys of this book just in case you lose the first one.
The Judge spells out everything you need to know about running a local campaign from getting your name on the ballot to what to do on election day.
Its very understable, easy to read, and highly informative. It will help you in countless ways, such as how to go about fundraising, mailing, signs, door to door campaigning, when to campaign, and how other people can help you.
Following the Judges's years earned advice is your first step to winning.
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on May 9, 2005
This is the best of the four books I've recently compared to run a local campaign. Three others, "Winning Local and State Elections" by Beaudry/Schaeffer, "Winning Polical Campaigns," by Bike, and "How to Win an Election," by Huseby are much more dated and significantly flawed. Of these books, this is by far the best, providing a good overview of the things one needs to do in order to run a successful campaign. Others have provided an overview of what you'll find inside and you can sneak a peak online, so I won't provide redundant info here. This book is unique in highlighting areas that may not apply to your particular election and highlighting potential "gotchas" for which you need to be alert, for instance financial reporting requirements for your state.

This book, like the others, falls short in its coverage of technology (online presence for the candidate, email communication, effective use of databases, automated polling maps), and in some cases is bent towards larger elections which have political party affiliation.

All-in-all a decent primer with helpful hints for getting started, but you'll also likely want to invest in something with a bit more depth around areas of particular interest/need for you: targetting, polling, messaging/communication, or advertising.
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on April 1, 1999
This book is excellent for potential candidates with little political experience. To that end, it does an excellent job spelling out the steps to take to enter and win an election, from chosing your party and getting on the ballot, to running radio ads. On the other hand, if you're someone who's been around the block a few times, there are better books that are more advanced and will be more useful. (I don't think Judge Grey ever targeted his book to people with more than minimal political knowledge.) The other caveat is that the computer information is out-of-date now. I suggest buying a tutorial book on MS Access and Word if you are in need of computer knowledge.
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on July 17, 2005
Grey produced a concise, informative and well-written guide to winning a local election. Local elections are won on actions that put the campaign in touch with the voters. This short, easy to read book provides the essentials quickly (I read it in a day) freeing the campaign to get out and work efficiently and effectively.

The criticism that the book is too basic by other reviewers misses the point. With experience as a senior project leader for a major national political polling firm, I still forgot what it takes to manage an entire campaign. The book is not naive in its simplicity, but eloquent at making decisions about what is relevant to convey to get a campaign up quickly and in the right direction.
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on October 9, 2005
I have used this book and its predecessor for numerous local campaigns. It is not written at a theoretical level but is a nuts-and-bolts primer for small campaigns. I have other books on the subject, but this is the one I recommend most highly.

I find that many people who want to run for political office at the local level really have no idea about the mechanics of a campaign. By the time they realize that it is no easy task, they are too far gone or too dejected to turn their campaigns around. This book is an excellent guide for them to read before they start. I like the fact that Judge Grey demands a basic analysis of what it will take to win before a candidate commits himself.

I also think the judge's willingness to make recommendations (i.e. don't run as an independent, his insistence that no campaign is too small for a campaign manager) sets his book apart from others. The title of this book is "How to WIN a Local Election", not how to run one. In fact, he capitalizes the word "WIN" himself. Often times these books are written by political science professors who lose sight of the objective of a political campaign-- to "WIN" !

In short, this is an excellent primer for small local campaigns. Good enough that I buy copies to give to potential candidates before they throw their hat in the ring.
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on April 30, 2001
Local elections can be relatively simple to very complex depending upon applicable state law. For example, in my own state, running for school board is very simple. You need obtain only a few signatures on a very non technical petition to get on the ballot. Furthermore, the financial disclosure requirements are simple. On the other hand, elections to other local offices are complex affairs with fairly difficult ballot access and complex financial reporting requirements. This fine book helps a candidate through the complxities. The book also offers strategies for running a campaign .. including, campaign literature, going door to door, mailings, media, yard signs, etc. This is a very lucidly written manual that all candidates should find helpful. By the way, all chapters may not be useful for all candidates. For example, a candidate for school board in my state will not need to refer to chapters dealing with the more complex issues I mentioned above. However, going door to door, mailings, yard signs, candidate forums etc. are very important topics to be reviewed for such a campaign. The most important message of the book is to be organized and the book shows how to get properly organized. The book is also up to date as to how the computer can be used in a local campaign, There is something in this book for all candidates and I recommend it.
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The author's electoral how-to treatise, written in simple easy-to-understand language and syntax, covers basically the broad fundamentals of a local campaign. In a way this book is the equivalent of hiring a a campaign veteran for your campaign, and it doesn't dissapoint. It is an excellent non-fiction work, its strengths lying in its easy-to-read laid-back journalistic style and sheer breadth of coverage. Perhaps this is even one of those "must-have" books for prospective candidates. Although some of the subject matter enters the realm of oversimplification (the only real fault within) when the author writes such self-evident items as "bulk mail is cheaper [than first-class mail]" and on computers, to simply find a "guru" to solve all problems, the breadth of the survey topics, from making reluctant editors print your press releases, to deciding whether to do run radio or television ads (usually radio), is extremely helpful. Since in this reviewer's opinion this book probably is the difference between a victory and defeat, whether it be for an election for a small organistion or a county-wide seat, this definately is a recommended reading.
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on November 14, 2000
I have worked in several congressional races where money was plentiful and paid media was the name of the game. However, low budget races were a mystery to me until I read this book. Judge Grey gives great tips for getting the most out of every campaign dollar. He helps you work from the mindset of "What do I need?" rather than "What can I buy?" This is a great book for anyone making the transition from "big dollar campaigning" to grassroots campaigning.
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