Holding a candidate tour of your district can be a great way to generate support and momentum, earn free press coverage and garner additional funds for your campaign. Tours take lots of planning to pull off right, but much of the planning can be done by local volunteers at each of your tour stops.
The majority of a candidate tour consists of “events.” The tour is basically a string of events that takes place over the duration of the tour, be it one day or one week. The events should all coincide with the theme of the tour and be set-up to achieve the tour’s goals as laid out by the campaign. There are several types of events that can be incorporated into the tour, including:
– Speeches – The tour staple, speeches can take any number of forms, including speeches to groups, schools, clubs, etc. This category also includes press conferences.
– Rallies – Organized rallies can provide a great way to generate momentum and support and motivate your organization.
– On Location Tours – Touring a factory, business, school or other site can be a great way to highlight your message and issues.
– Roundtables – Public discussions (roundtables) between the candidate and some local leaders, supporters, or undecided voters.
– Q&A’s – An event held by the campaign with the purpose of allowing members of the audience to question the candidate.
– Whistle-stop Tours – An old favorite. Load a train, bus, or old-fashioned trolley with supporters and make the rounds of the district, making many pre-arranged stops where the candidate can make quick stump speeches while the staff hands out balloons, brochures, etc.
Which type of events should you choose?
Use them all (or at least use several). The best way to generate lots of publicity and keep your supporters enthused is to incorporate several different types of events during your tour – do a rally in one town, an on-location tour in the next, etc. Tours that are focused on a good theme and incorporate different types of events are a good way to ensure that the local media will cover your local event, as well as your tour theme in general.