In November 2011 I started to seriously consider running for office. I had certainly thought of doing it before, but after receiving a number of general inquires, via mass e-mail, from the Texas and National Libertarian parties I figured it would at least be a great learning experience.
This page is in no way legal or financial advice in any way. Rather it is merely a documentation of what research and steps I took in my campaign for House of Representatives, Texas district 32.’
Why Libertarian? My journey through the political spectrum starts when I was just a teenager. I overheard an older brother-in-law of a friend of my badmouthing Democrats, and soon started to realize I was living in an area heavily dominated by self proclaimed “conservatives”, many of whom were practicing Republicans. I found myself identifying with a lot of what Republicans had to say, yet still much of it seemed a bit off to me; and proclaimed myself to be more of a Moderate. The first few chances I had to vote, despite having closely supported Republicans at a state level, I found myself voting for Presidential candidates belonging to the Constitution Party; mostly out of protest. After all if you vote for the lesser of two evils, all you really end up with is evil. I first heard of the Constitution Party while sitting in church, after our Priesthood meeting had concluded. A man who had just given a lesson on freedom and liberty, after being asked a question, decided since church was over he was ok to talk more freely about a particular political candidate running under this party’s banner.
I soon after moved to Texas, were the Libertarian Party has a much larger Influence. Of course being much larger then almost nothing still isn’t very large, but still as I continued to learn more about politics, and the political process, I found myself disagreeing more and more with Republicans, and certainly a great deal with Democrats. I eventually concluded that there was a problem with the political system itself.
Today I find myself wanting to be a Moderate Libertarian at a Federal Level, a Moderate Republican and a State level, and a conservative Democrat (with a twist of self reliance) at a local level. However, if I want to get involved at any level, I must pick one. If I want to have much of a chance at really getting involved in a big way, I’m pressured into picking one of the major parties, and hoping that I can influence it from within. Or I can pick the long shot, the one I most identify with relative to the position I want to run for, and hope for the best.
The Texas election district boundaries were disputed in late 2011, which put me into any one of the following districts:
Texas 2010 census population = 25,145,561
Ideal district population:
”’698,488 Texas Congress (36 districts)”’
811,147 State Senate (31 districts)
167,637 State House of Representatives (150 districts)
1,676,371 State Board of Education (15 districts)
PLANE120 – SBOE DISTRICTS ENACTED BY 82ND LEGISLATURE, 2011: 12
PLANH299 – JUDGE SMITH PROPOSED HOUSE PLAN: 89
PLANH302 – COURT-ORDERED INTERIM HOUSE PLAN: 89
PLANS164 – COURT-ORDERED INTERIM SENATE PLAN: 30
When I first applied in December of 2011, I was told that someone had already applied as a libertarian for that district. They asked if I would apply for the State house instead of the US house, but after some thought I decided that I couldn’t afford to win the state house race due to the limited compensation and time required away from work (about 70 days every 2 years) and that I was really a libertarian at the Federal level more so then the state level. It’s really what I wanted to run for anyway.
I filled out the Application for Nomination, took it to my local credit union to get notarized and mailed it in. I received e-mail confirmation from the Libertarian State Party’s Secretary that they had received it.
Redistricting court causes caused the other candidate to no longer be in the district and he eventually withdrew. Thus, I received the nomination at the district conventions held in Grapevine.
By now I had already had a chance to meet many of the active party members, and fill out a lot of additional paperwork. I had also spent a lot of time reading the election laws from many different sources (primarily the FEC).
By June I hosted my first fundraising event, a BBQ at a local park. The turnout was not as good as I had hoped, but I did raise nearly $300 (most of it from one donor), enough to more than pay for the supplies, and a couple of banners and other campaign supplies.
That summer I spent a lot of time going to events, and getting to know people. I found myself drawn to a hard working group of Ron Paul supporters who unofficially called themselves the Dallas Ron Paul 2012 group.
I probably spend more time with them then I should have, but it felt good to be involved with them. Still I did go to other events, including two Independence Day Parades. I had two guys help me with both of them, and one other with one of them. It was a skeleton crew for sure, but with the banners on the side of my lifted truck, and an inflatable statue of liberty in the bed, we made it work.
The rest of the year was a whirlwind of going to events, getting the occasional donation, responding to surveys, I even got to participate in two debates. Of course the Incubation didn’t show up to either, but an obvious appoint “stood in” for him at one of them. The people who came to support me at that debate gave me positive feedback on my performance; on noting that I did much better then he had expected.
Of course there was the ever present FEC paper work that had to be done throughout this whole ordeal.
”This is a list of how I did it. It is in no way legal advice. Laws always change as well so be sure to check on the latest requirements.”
Also see http://lptexas.org/sites/default/files/LP%20Texas%20Candidate%20Handbook%20092311a.pdf – page 9
- Got a Google Voice Phone number for the Campaign
- Got business cards with my face on it, which was useful for the next step.
- Purchased a PO Box to protect my home address. – required 2 forms of government ID, and my business card to show proof of the existence of “Seth Hollist for US Congress“.
- Applied for EIN from IRS as a 527 political entity.
- Open bank account as a “Political Trust” using EIN – Viewpoint bank offers a free Political Trust account.
- Completed FEC Statement of Candidacy (FEC form 2), and Statement of Organization (FEC form 1)
- Received IRS notification that I had not completed form 8871 in a timely manner. Returned included form to indicate that I was not required to complete this form as it was for a political committee that reports to the FEC.
- Received packet for House Ethics Committee that included fair amount of paperwork to divulge my financial situation. Returned included form indicating that I had not yet raised or spend $5000 so I did not yet need to file by the May 15th deadline. I will still need to complete the paper work within 30 days of raising $5000 or 30 before the general election.
- I eventually did start doing electronic filing with the FEC, but took until the end of the election to break the $5000 mark. I didn’t get much further then that, and a lot of it was in-kind donations.
- MORE DETAILS TO COME – someday, maybe….