Getting Your Campaign Off the Ground | National Democratic Training Committee

Getting Your Campaign Off the Ground

By Valerie Martin
60 min
Getting Started

What You’ll Learn

  • How to register your campaign and make your candidacy official
  • How to get your name on the ballot
  • How to research when your key deadlines are

Why This is Important

The rules you have to follow can change based on what city within your state you’re running in, and they’re different for a mayoral candidate than a state legislative candidate. To set yourself up for success from day one, take this course to learn the rules that govern your campaign.

Key Resources

  • Getting Started Checklist — Includes many of the early steps to get your campaign set up
  • Campaign Startup Resources — a state-by-state list of the official handbooks for running for office
  • Campaign Finance Startup Resources — a state-by-state list of the official campaign finance guides for candidate campaigns
  • Registering Your Campaign Committee Worksheet — a guide to help you research the regulations for launching your campaign
  • List of Campaign Staff Roles & Responsibilities
  • List of Campaign Consulting Roles

Related Trainings

  • Budgeting & Financial Compliance — In addition to getting your name on the ballot, you’ll need to set up your fundraising in compliance with the laws that apply to your campaign
  • Building Your Network and documenting who is already in your network are key early steps in your campaign

Valerie Martin


Co-Founder & Partner, Silversmith Strategies

Specializing in fundraising, campaign management, and media, Valerie Martin has spent seven election cycles working on competitive campaigns across the country. For the last six years, Valerie worked on national campaigns to create television advertising, provide media trainings for candidates, develop campaign plans, and offer strategic advice. She is now the Co-Founder and Partner at Silversmith Strategies, a full-service media and consulting firm.

Previously, Valerie managed two U.S. Senate races, including the 2010 open-seat U.S. Senate race in New Hampshire. Valerie raised money for a governor’s race in Georgia and Claire McCaskill’s 2006 upset victory in Missouri. McCaskill was one of six new Democrats who tipped the balance of the Senate toward Democratic control in the 2006 elections. In 2004, after serving as Finance Director for several Congressional races, Valerie led Allyson Schwartz’s finance team in her successful open-seat bid in PA-13, raising more than $4.6 million in that hotly-contested race.

A native of San Diego, California and a graduate of the University of Dayton in Ohio, Valerie currently resides in Chicago.