Is it too late to run for office in 2018?

You’re seething. You cannot believe, again, what is coming from the Twitter handle of the person the electoral college placed in the White House. Tonight, he’s saying his button’s bigger than Kim Jong Un’s button, and that Monday, he’s going to give out his own “THE MOST DISHONEST & CORRUPT MEDIA awards” (uppercase in the original), most likely in retaliation for the year-end reports about his thousands of lies told in the span of the last 365 or so days.

You’ve got to do something, you think to yourself. You sign online petitions, you share everything you find everywhere you have an account. You make calls, get alerts, engage others and read the articles about the potential mid-term wave election year we might have.

You’ll confess to having thought about running for office, but you haven’t pulled petitions (i.e., get signatures on a petition form qualifying you to run for office) , let alone talk to your family or even an informal brain trust – a small group of people you rely on to tell you the truth about you.

So, is it too late to run for office in 2018? By most standards, yes, it is, but not by all standards. The main circumstances under which you might still decide to run in 2018 have to do with whether there’s a primary challenge involved. If there is, then no, you likely don’t have time, unless you are already in office and have a name or network, or you’ve run before and have a network. With the filing deadline (in Ohio) being February 7 for most 2018 candidates, and the role of party politics, any race that involves a primary needed to be contemplated at least a couple of months ago, at the very latest. Hustle and chutzpah help, but it’s still a challenge.

On the other hand, if there’s no chance of a primary challenge because you’re either challenging an incumbent of the opposite party, you are going to be a write-in or you are going to run as an independent, then yes, you do still have time, but you need to start running now.

I’ve got experience doing it the very planful and full of time way, and the very planful but without the time I really wish I’d had way. I won and then I lost the first way, and I lost the second way (though not solely because of not starting earlier than I did). And I ran someone’s campaign who had started more than early enough and was planful, and lost. Remember – there’s only one winner no matter how hard you work. This is something that never changes.

Bottom line: What are your 2018 options?

  • Run for something, damn the torpedoes (I don’t recommend this).
  • Run for something after assessing the field and the primary landscape.
  • Help others run, look at local office races for 2019 (there’s no such thing as an off-year when it comes to electoral politics) and plan on what that run might look like for you.
  • Make monetary contributions if you don’t have time, or give time if you don’t have money, or do both for candidates you support.
  • Know that even if you missed the 2018 boat, it is, in fact, never (yes, never) too late to run for office. I give you these two quotes from the superb column, “Ask Roxane: Is It Too Late to Follow My Dreams?” by Roxanne Gay:

“Try not to worry about what other people your age or younger have already accomplished because it will only make you sick with envy or grief.”


“Make sure there are people in your life who will have faith in your promise when you can’t.”

Now, she was writing about artistic pursuits, in particular, writing. But trust me, those sentences have power over any ambition, dream or endeavor you might harbor or want to pursue. Stay healthy and safe long enough to make it to 2019, or 2020, and let’s talk then if 2018 is not your year to run. It can be a multi-year process, getting to “yes” when it comes to deciding to run for office. Let me repeat – it is never too late.


4 thoughts on “Is it too late to run for office in 2018?

  1. Pingback: A NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION I FULLY SUPPORT… | Have Coffee Will Write

  2. Pingback: How to climb the ladder of political engagement if you don’t run for office (yet) | Writes Like She Talks

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