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New Course Seeks To Offer Practical Campaign Management Lessons

Prof. Jeffrey Smith (credit: The New School)

Prof. Jeffrey Smith (credit: The New School)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Ever thought of running for political office, being a campaign manager or just volunteering?

A new course at The New School called “Campaign Management Boot Camp,” is designed to shine a light on all things political.

The condensed four-session course being taught by Professor Jeffrey Smith is meant to offer a complete picture of what it’s like to run a campaign, launch a campaign or cover a campaign in the news media.

Smith said step one is deciding if you’re fully invested in running for office.

“There’s a lot of things that some people find distasteful and you have to make sure that you’re committed to it because if you go into it in a half-hearted way, you’re probably going to lose,” Smith told WCBS 880’s Steve Scott.

The professor said it’s important for a candidate to not go it alone.

“I think the biggest mistake is that a lot of candidates think they can run their own campaign. I’m sure you’ve heard the old axiom that anyone who represents themselves in court has a fool for a client. Well, it’s kind of the same thing with political candidates. It’s very important that you find a campaign manager who’s smart, someone that you can trust, someone who is a good manager and administrator,” Smith told Scott.

Smith said when a person does decide to run for office, getting out the vote and the fundraising effort is critical from the start.

The professor, who has previously served as a state senator in Missouri, said early on in the campaign the candidate should make a list of everyone they’ve ever met and then call them seeking donations. He said it can be an uncomfortable situation but will get a bit easier with each call.

And Smith said his top piece of advice for anyone seeking office is to not get distracted from the core goal.

“If you can’t draw a tangible, direct connection between an activity and how it will get you either money or votes, you shouldn’t do it and you shouldn’t worry about it,” Smith told Scott.

For more information on the course, click here.