Five Characteristics of Highly Successful Candidates

Five Characteristics of Highly Successful Candidates

Expert Insights by Parker Poling, Executive Director of the National Republican Congressional Committee, 2019-present; Chief of Staff to the Chief Deputy Whip of the U.S. House of Representatives, 2014-2018.


  1. Work ethic – this will be a grind. You will want to quit. You have to keep going.
  2. Humility – you have to be willing to listen. You have to listen to the voters who are telling you what they think and what they care about, but you also have to be willing to listen to staff and consultants that you are paying to give you advice.  Consulting firms like The Stewart Group have the experience to help you succeed.  Trust them.
  3. A network – whether it’s built through business, your church, or your volunteer work, a broad network of individuals that you can use for fundraising, volunteers, to host meet and greets. An existing network is tremendously helpful. If you are moving into a district and have to replicate it, it can be very time-consuming. Use your existing network to expand into the community and meet voters.
  4. Family support – spouse, kids, parents – whoever you have, having them bought in is really important. A successful campaign will often rely on family to humanize the candidate, and you’ll need them to decompress.
  5. Believe in the cause – for a lot of people, it’s difficult to ask for $2700 per person, per election. It’s a lot of money. I have found with candidates that if they see themselves as part of a larger cause, such as Republican control of the House, or working to find solutions, it makes that ask easier.

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