All office seekers, however, are ambitious. Running for office—even a low-level one—is extremely demanding. Only people with a strong commitment to winning will put up with the intense schedule of campaigning. At higher levels, candidates face even more challenges.

Example: Presidential candidates often campaign for eighteen hours a day. But the last few days of a presidential campaign are particularly grueling. Candidates give up sleep to campaign nonstop for the last few days. At the end of the 2000 campaign, Democrat Al Gore campaigned for forty-eight hours straight, attending rallies at all hours of the day. His opponent, Republican George W. Bush, followed a similarly grueling schedule.

Presidential Candidates

The longest, most difficult, most expensive, and most visible campaigns are those for president. The process begins when a candidate chooses to run. Then he or she must win the party nomination, endure the primaries, attend the national convention, and, ultimately, campaign in the general election.

Choosing to Run

Candidates usually spend the two years before the first primary raising money, cultivating support from important party activists, and getting their name known by the public. Many people spend a number of months preparing to run for office only to eventually decide not to run because they cannot generate enough support or they find the process too demanding.

Popular pages: The Political Process