How to run for office as an independent
So you are tired of the legacy parties, think you can make a difference, want to give it a try. Here is some advice from a recovering Democrat.
Do you know 10 people who might give you $1,000? Alternatively, do you know 100 people who might give you $100? If you cannot come up with a plausible plan to raise $10,000, look for someone else to support. Don't run a symbolic campaign. Symbolic campaigns stink. Out loud. Nobody will volunteer to campaign for a symbol. Run for office.
Run for the office you want to hold. Want to do something to end the wars? Run for federal office. County council does not handle foreign policy. Do you care about land use issues? Then county council is just the thing for you. Care about education? School board, county council, and state assembly all have some power over the school system. Run for the office you want to hold.
What is your base? Not in terms of issues, who are the people who will knock on the doors for you, volunteer for phone bank, run you website, and so on. Are you president of your civic association? Garden club? Doggie play group? Can you come up with a dozen or more people who would not just support you but ask others to do so?
Get some training. Democracy for America, Wellstone Action, and other groups offer training.
Go to your state's board of election's website and study the rules with close attention. Try to get someone experienced to coordinate your petition drive. Done properly, petition signing can solve two problems at once, get you on the ballot and identify supporters. Some people will sign just to give you a chance to run; but most will be potential supporters. If the rules of your state permit it, record the names of those who sign your petitions. That is a quick way to get into trouble and discredit yourself.
Start going to everything. Go to zoning hearings. Sit in the back and listen, make of a note of anyone who says anything that indicates they might be a supporter. Read that section of your community newspaper where they list upcoming events and go to everything. Shake hands and compliment everything you see. If you can't go to every event, you can't run for office.
Study the voting history of your jurisdiction precinct by precinct. Go back at least four elections to discern trends. Note precincts where Nader and other third party candidates got their best vote, that is your electoral base.