Before you decide to make a run for sheriff, make sure you are actually qualified to run. Contact your secretary of state or county clerk for specific requirements needed to run.
Common Qualifications For Sheriff
- Minimum age of 18 or 21.
- U.S. citizen / residing in the county or state.
- A high school diploma or GED.
- Certain professional certifications.
- No felony convictions.
- Certified law enforcement officer or law enforcement experience.
- Certain physical requirements.
Not all of these requirements are necessary to run. For example, in some areas a physical fitness test is not required; in other areas, it is. It all depends on your local laws.
The Money Requirement
In the political world, money is the blood of campaigning. Unfortunately, that means fundraising is a necessary evil. Consider how you will fund raise and advertising early on. If you are running against an incumbent, you will have an idea of what monetary goals you are up against. You will want to match – and hopefully exceed – your opponent’s fundraising efforts.
More and more sheriff candidates are using social media and campaign websites as a way to raise campaign donations.
Writing checks used to be the golden standard for donation gathering. Today, online donations taken over as the preferred payment method. An analysis by The Campaign Finance Institute shows that the average online supporter gives less than $200 per donation – but they more likely to donate multiple times over the duration of the campaign.
Make sure that you know and follow any local election fundraising requirements. At the very least, there are probably single-person contribution limits.
Gaining the support of local organization can help tap into potential votes from its members. Backing can also come from personal, professional and business contacts. Can you tap into business groups, labor organizations or ethnic communities? Gain support will likely be the culmination of a relationship. If you are planning a sheriff candidacy one day, start making contacts and building relationships today.
A Thick Skin
Sheriff campaigns are notorious for being nasty affairs. Personal attacks, attacks on family, ethics, business and personal matters are the norm. If you can’t take attacks on yourself or your family, you may want to reconsider being a candidate.