The Adams County Democratic Committee (ACDC) and Gettysburg Democracy for America (DFA) offered the first of four sessions to train prospective candidates and campaign volunteers running for local office in the 2023 municipal elections.
There are over 200 slots available and many, many people will run for them.
The first session, held last Friday, included a discussion by ACDC Committee Member Sarah Laird about the election process and tools available to candidates. Examples cited include help from the party to get petitions signed or mailers or use of the state Voter Access Network, which can help prepare lists for door-to-door campaigning.
Steve Whitman and ACDC Chair Marcia Wilson spoke next on the role and the need for a campaign treasurer. “As soon as you accept a donation, you’re a candidate,” said Whitman. Whitman and Wilson said the treasurer is perhaps the most important member of the campaign team.
Required campaign finance regulations include appropriate financial disclosures and rules that must be followed. “You can spend money on anything that’s designed to influence the outcome of an election,” said Whitman. “A dinner out because you’re depressed, no, that’s not allowed, but a contribution to another candidate is good.”
Finally, County Commissioner Marty Qually, former borough council member Charles Strauss, and former Gettysburg school board member Carrie Soliday spoke on their experiences as candidates and office-holders.
All three rejected the frequently stated concern that “Democrats can’t win.” They agreed that convincing voters you care about the community is more important than any given position on any issue.
The panel agreed that it’s sometimes possible to get things done even as a small minority of the group and that getting to know other members and working on areas of agreement can help get things done, saying “Sometimes you have to figure out ways to get proposals to them that they’d reject if it came from you.
There was a spirited Q&A session during and after the presentations.
The next session to be held on Friday, Feb 17, will deal with messaging, working with the media, and social media.