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Seminar on how to run for election gets into the details

by Joan Hellyer

Dozens of Bucks County residents considering a run for public office this year jump-started their campaigns recently by taking a crash course on how to be a candidate.

The Women’s Political Network of Bucks County, the League of Women Voters of Bucks County and the Lower Bucks branch of the American Association of University Women hosted the February 10th seminar at the Free Library of Northampton Township.

Panelists gave tips on campaign strategy, tactics and finances to the more than 50 potential candidates and their supporters who attended the “How to Run for Local Elected Office.”

They emphasized the need for candidates to be sure all the information is accurate on their filing petitions, they complete all the required paperwork and they stick to the deadlines leading up to the elections.

Program emcee Kathleen Horwatt, a Langhorne councilwoman, shared with the audience her own close call in a previous election cycle.

Kathleen said she gave her application to a political party volunteer to bring it to Doylestown Borough to submit to the county’s Board of Elections.

However, she received word the “day they were due” that her application was not complete because it did not include the required notarized signatures on the filing petition.

She said she had included the signatures in the initial packet, but they apparently got lost somehow on the way to the Board of Elections.

Kathleen raced to get the notarized signatures a second time and then submitted them before the deadline.

She said she learned a valuable lesson as a result of the experience. “Trust yourself from now on,” she said.

The 2019 election cycle includes dozens of state, county and municipal seats up for grabs including local school board and municipal posts. Potential Republican and Democratic candidates have until March 12th, 2019 to file their petitions to run for election in their respective party’s primaries.

In addition to the petition, potential candidates also need to submit a Statement of Financial Interests and a campaign expense report by the March 12th deadline, panelists said.

Potential candidates who attended the session said they got “some useful tidbits” from the free seminar.

“I thought it was very helpful,” said Dianne Magee, a Plumstead resident who is running for Judge of the Court of Common Pleas. “I would encourage community members running for office to attend their events.”

Charissa Liller of Doylestown Borough also is running for Judge of the Court of Common Pleas. She too attended the campaign seminar.

“It is important to know what you are doing,” Charissa said. “There are a lot of tight deadlines.”

The seminar was informative, said Anna Payne, who serves as Middletown’s auditor.

“It gives you a great overview of what to do,” said Anna, who plans to run for Middletown supervisor this year. “It is very bi-partisan, which is good. We need to encourage people to run for office across the board. We need new voices from both sides of the aisle.”

The 2019 Primary Election is May 21st.

Candidates who win their respective races in the primary move on to run in the General Election on November 5th.

Information about the 2019 election and its deadlines are posted at www.buckscounty.org.