The Candidate Manual

The home page for
“How to Be a Candidate in Kentucky”


What do you need to be a candidate? Money, friends, a great handshake, a car that gets really, really good mileage? Well, yes, this and so much more. But what you need to be a candidate, more than anything, is the basic knowledge of what goes into being a candidate from the initial consideration through election day. I’ve been working with candidates and campaigns for three decades across the state, and the same questions, concerns, and mistakes kept coming up, year after year. So I decided that I would change the way we do politics in Kentucky. I would make it simple to find information on how to run, and I would encourage every county leader and every potential candidate to get involved in making the process clearer and more straightforward.

I gathered together a huge group of my friends, experts, former candidates and current elected officials and we talked through what we could put in a manual for candidates at every level from fiscal court through the Governor’s Mansion.

This is the first version of what we hope will be a living document that gets better every election cycle. If you have an idea, a correction or just want to reach out, contact me at or 502-229-1063. I’m honored to be a part of this project and grateful to everyone who took part. Go, run, win, or at least have a really good time trying!

— Anna Whites

If you would prefer to have this manual in PDF, click here.


Alexandra Owensby
Anna Whites
Ariana Mahalie
Beth Thorpe
Bruce Maples
Collin Morris
Daniel Grossberg
Daniel Hurt
Debbie Lucas Angel
Dustin Burley
Geoff Sebesta
Jack Walker
Johnson Smith
Lamar Allen
Leo Haggerty
Maria Sorolis
Trent Garrison
Will Carle

Table of Contents

Thinking About Running

  • Learn what offices are out there
  • Decide if you should be a candidate
  • Assess your chances
  • Evaluate your past campaign(s)
  • Check with your family
  • Make your commitment

Getting Ready to Run

  • Do some networking
  • Learn the district
  • Take care of the basics
  • Do your planning
  • Hire a staff
  • Hone your message
  • Hone your platform


  • Set your priorities
  • Delegate
  • Build a campaign that motivates
  • Line up volunteers
  • Seek endorsements
  • Raise money
  • Do public appearances
  • Do canvassing
  • Review everything
  • Do your reporting
  • Do oppo research
  • Hone your message and platform some more
  • Get out the vote
  • Allow for mistakes
  • Trust yourself

Finishing Running



Scroll to Top