Foolish Ways to Lose an Election


While GOP candidates and party faithful focus on who can best beat President Obama in November, Craig Copland is rallying conservatives to take over the country – one dog catcher at a time.

“In November 2012 we can take back the White House, majority control of the Senate, more governors’ offices, scores of state legislative seats, and countless local level offices,” says Copland, author of the just released 2012 Conservative Election Handbook (, a guide to winning campaigns at any level.

“It doesn’t start with the office of president,” he says. “That’s where it ends.”

Citizens who want to see conservative governance and policies throughout the fabric of the United States can make it happen by running for local office or volunteering campaign help for conservative candidates, Copland says.

 “There are 600,000-plus elected offices in this country,” he says. “If America is to remain a beacon of freedom and prosperity, then conservatives need to be elected as county clerks, judges, water commissioners, mayors, school board trustees, state legislators, and every other rank of public office in the country.”

His new guide, researched and written with insights gleaned from his years of managing political and non-profit campaigns, lays out clear instructions for both political veterans and newbies, stepping up to do their part for the conservative cause.

Among them: Some foolish ways to lose an election.

• Sex:  Voters will forgive divorce; they won’t forgive active adultery. Don’t get carried away by the headiness and pressures of the campaign trail and screw up.

• Lies: Do not lie. Not about anything. You will always be found out. Your credibility will be attacked. You will lose.

• Videotape: Once you become a public figure, everything you say will be on the public record – somewhere. If not on videotape, then audiotape, in print, or in a notebook. Emails, Facebook posts and tweets live forever. So be consistent, think before you speak, and don’t let your guard down. It will reappear at the worst possible time.

• Do NOT Break the rules: Every election, every state, every district and every campaign will be faced with a staggering list of rules. Learn them. Follow them. Bring accountants and lawyers on board who are experienced with the rules. If you are caught breaking even one, it could derail your campaign.

• Avoid conflicts of interest: Never let yourself be caught supporting a political action in which you have an obvious interest. Voters will respect a candidate who believes in something because it’s the right thing. But if you appear to be lining your pockets, it’s game over.

• Do NOT fight losing battles: Don’t waste a nickel or a minute trying to appeal to the group trying to repeal marijuana laws – they’ll never vote for you. And you’re not going to win a precinct that voted 90 percent liberal in the last election. Focus your time and money where you can make a difference in the vote.

Raising money, of course, is a big part of winning a campaign, but it doesn’t take a lot to win a less dazzling local office. It’s a good place to learn the ropes of fundraising and get some practice running a campaign without a lot of pressure, he says. And there’s value in winning even the most down-ballot office.

“If conservatives set out to win every elected post in the country, all 600,000-plus of them, then America will be a truly conservative country,” he says, “from dogcatcher to president.”

About Craig Copland

Craig Copland is a retired entrepreneur with a long history as a volunteer and professional consultant with expertise in fundraising and managing political campaigns. He spent many years as an executive and CEO of international humanitarian aid agencies, helping establish and run disaster response programs for children in Africa, Bosnia, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan, among other locations. As founder and president of Conservative Growth Inc., he helps elect conservatives to all levels of public office.