How to Run for City Council in 2024

Gerrie Schipske

After spending 8 years on City Council, 4 years on LBCC Board of Trustees, 11 years teaching public policy, law, and political science at CSULB, and many, many years in political campaigns, I want to share how to keep our elected officials accountable.

CityWatch Long Beach is a column on the inner workings of local government. We hope this will inform, inspire, and engage readers. I welcome questions and suggestions for topics.

So, let’s begin with the ABCs of Local Government.

How to Run for City Council in 2024

It’s that time again in Long Beach… or almost time. The even numbered council district 2,4,6,8 will be on the primary ballot on March 5, 2024. (Election for odd districts 1,3,5,7,9 and the mayor, city prosecutor, city attorney and city auditor were held in 2022.)

Yes, March 5. California moved its presidential primary from June to March so that it could be one of the first states to weigh in on nominating a presidential candidate in both political parties. Since Long Beach consolidated its primary and general elections with the state, voters will get to choose local, state, and federal candidates.

Filing for Long Beach City Council closes Dec. 13. Ballots are mailed out to voters on Jan. 25 to Feb. 24. Vote by mail ballots will be processed starting Feb. 20 and voting centers will be open beginning Feb. 24.

As of this column is being published, the following have filed for council districts 2,4.6.8.

Primary Nominating Election | March 5, 2024 List of UNOFFICIAL Candidates Updated as of 07/26/2023

  • CD-2 No candidates have filed.
  • CD-4 Herlinda Chico
  • CD-4 Daryl Supernaw
  • CD-6 Suely Saro
  • CD-6 Shayne Whitehead
  • CD-8 Tunua Thrash-Ntuk
  • CD-8 Dr. Sharifa Batts

There is not a lot of time for a candidate to declare candidacy and campaign before the primary election – especially considering that November and December are taken up by holidays.

Depending on how many candidates file for each council district, the election may be decided in the primary if only two persons file. If more than two files and no one receives 50%+ votes in the primary, the top two vote getters go on to the general election in November.

If you are interested in running for City Council, there are a number Do’s and Don’ts you must consider:

Do:

  • Ask yourself why you want to run. Voters need to know that you have ideas and good reasons for asking them to vote for you. Turn that into a ballot statement that tells people who you are and why you are asking for their vote. Use the words in your statement during speeches and in campaign materials.
  • Decide how you will be listed on the ballot. You are allowed to include your name and then up to three words that describe your current occupation.
  • Get a campaign treasurer. Not your best friend or business partner. You need to hire someone who knows local and state campaign laws and who can keep tract of campaign contributions and expenditures. Unfortunately, there are only a few professional treasurers that know Long Beach election law.
  • Figure out how you are going to finance a campaign. It is never a good idea to spend your own money. Long Beach has limits on the amounts that can be contributed. If you agree to spending limitations you might be eligible for matching funds from the city. This law was enacted many years ago to encourage people to run for office.
  • Find someone to help you with fundraising. You need to start calling friends and family and ask them to donate because you will need money for a filing fee and a ballot statement and campaign brochures. Long Beach has limits on how much each person can contribute. The city clerk has a handbook that you should read thoroughly. Make sure you send a thank you to anyone who contributes, no matter how much.
  • Get to know who votes in your council district. The best source of this information is PDI – Political Data Incorporated. They have been collecting voting data for many years and have campaign software which you can use to find voters and reach out to them.
  •  Print out a handout that includes a photograph, contact information and several bullet points listing why you are running. Ask voters to contact you with their issues and start walking in your council district. Use the PDI walk sheets that show who lives at the address and how they voted in the last elections. Don’t spend too much time at the door because you need to contact as many voters as possible. If no one is home, leave them the handout with a handwritten note – “Sorry, I missed you.”
  • Decide if you will accept endorsements from police, fire, labor unions or any other organization that gets involved in local races. The moment you file to run you will be inundated with questionnaires from these organizations.
  • Write your announcement press release – and ask a good friend to proofread it. Tell people who you are, what you are running for and why. Include contact information. Long Beach has several publications in-print and online. Get the word out that you are running.

Don’t:

  • Miss filing deadlines for your campaign report.
  • Rent a campaign office. It is too expensive.
  • Bother with lawn signs or campaign buttons. If someone else wants to spend the campaign limit and buy signs and buttons, let them.
  • Forget that most people mail in their ballots. You need to contact those who vote by mail early.
  • Stop contacting voters. Walk and knock and call up until election day.

Resources:

 

Gerrie Schipske, RNP/JD
schipske@gmail.com
(562) 201-1296.

Category:

Add new comment

Beachcomber

Copyright 2024 Beeler & Associates.

All rights reserved. Contents may not be reproduced or transmitted – by any means – without publisher's written permission.