How I Did It: Advice from Real Women Who Campaigned (and Won)

Insight into life on the campaign trail from the winners.

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Campaigning can be a grueling process. Not sure where to start? From fundraising to work-life balance, here nine inspiring candidates share how they ran a successful campaign.

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1 Teresa Benitez-Thompson, 39, Democratic member of the Nevada Assembly
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How I Fundraised: “I sent out a letter asking for contributions from friends and family using my wedding guest list. And made many cold calls. I scheduled ‘call time’ weekly, and had my campaign manager present as moral support—and to ensure I completed my list.”

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2 Avery Bourne, 25, Republican member of the Illinois House of Representatives
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How I Connected with Voters: “There is no better way to win the support of a voter than meeting them in person. From the beginning of June 2016 until Election Day 2017, I knocked on 13,673 doors! You need a goal, a message, and questions for your constituents.”

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3 Juana Matias, 30, Democratic member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives
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How I Established Credibility: “The incumbent I was going up against was anti-choice, and anti the LGBTQ community, so one of the strategies I used was to contact agencies like Planned Parenthood. I completed questionnaires and went in and discussed why these issues were important to me, and they all endorsed me.”

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4 Leslie Herod, 35, Democratic member of the Colorado House of Representatives
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My Work-Life Balance: “It is a privilege to be able to live out your passions, but figuring out work-life balance is somewhat of a fallacy. Self-care is extremely important to me. Whether it is spending time with my friends, taking a bath, or just sitting still for a moment, I make sure to take moments to rest and recharge. There is an Audre Lorde quote that sums up my view of why it’s important to find equilibrium: ‘Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.’”

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5 Melanie Stambaugh, 27, Republican member of the Washington House of Representatives
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My “OMG, I DID IT!” Moment: “Walking onto the House floor on the first day of the 2015 legislative session. There is a processional of all 98 members of the House of Representatives walking from the back of the chamber to your seat. I remember smiling big, and feeling the greatest sense of appreciation.”

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