Running for office, especially for the first time, can be incredibly challenging. In addition to all of the necessary work of connecting with constituents to convince them that you are the best candidate for the job, you also have to jump through a lot of regulatory hoops. For many people, this is enough to discourage them from ever running. That is why we created our Run for Office tool, which allows potential candidates to measure constituent support before ever declaring with their local election board. Having this critical information before filing papers can encourage new people to run.
Now, we know what you are thinking, is it really legal to collect pledges before officially declaring candidacy? Below we talk about each state to describe what you can and cannot do in order to make sure that you are not violating any campaign finance laws. If you have further questions, please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Running for office in: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and District of Columbia*
You can nominate yourself for office and ask for pledges
In these states, you have to declare your candidacy with the State Board of Elections if you are receiving donations or spending money for your campaign. Setting up a page on Crowdpac is completely free, so it does not count as an expenditure that would require you to file papers. When someone pledges to you on Crowdpac, they are not actually making a contribution to your campaign – they are promising to donate in the event that you officially declare. Therefore, you can create a potential campaign page for yourself and ask your network to pledge without needing to file papers. If you do decide to run for the position, after you file all of the necessary paperwork, we will process the money pledged to you and will send the donations to your campaign headquarters.
Running for Office in Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Montana, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Virginia, and Wyoming*
You should have someone else nominate you for office and you should not directly be asking for pledges
In these states, you have to declare your candidacy with the State Board of Elections if you are asking for donations or spending money for your campaign. In these states, we do not recommend that you directly set up a potential candidacy page or send it out to ask for pledges. Instead, someone close to you should nominate you for the election and send it out to ask for pledges. If they create a strong nomination page for you and send it out to a wide audience, you will similarly be able to measure your support and from there decide if you want to formally declare. If you do decide to run for the position, after you file all of the necessary paperwork, we will process the money pledged to you and will send the donations to your campaign headquarters.
* There may be other non-monetary activities that would require you to file for candidacy. We recommend reading the full regulations for your state that determine when you need to declare so that you do not accidentally violate any rules.