- You must have been born in the United States, or one of your parents was born in the U.S.
- You must be 35 years of age
- You must have lived in the U.S. for 14 years.
That's it, as far as the Constitution is concerned. Technically, when people vote for a candidate, they are voting for the one who has the support of the Electoral College. Each state has a set number of members of that group:
You will need to pay a filing fee of $400 (same as if you run for Senator; if you run for Representative, the fee is $300)
There will be forms to fill out to make you an official candidate, as well.
- You're going to need money. Lots of it. Candidates often spend in the millions of dollars to campaign.
- In the 2008 election, President Obama spent $730 million, John McCain spent $333 million
- In the state of Iowa alone, Mitt Romney spent $2.3 million on TV ads, out of a total of $7 million for all candidates
- You also have to have support from your family, because it will be a long, time-consuming, expensive process
- You need to have enough support (votes) to win
- You need people to help you run your campaign that you can trust
- You have to organize your campaign well
- You have to be OK with others, mainly the media (TV reporters, print media reporters, social media bloggers, etc.), digging into your life looking for weaknesses.
Remember these factors, as well:
- Why do you want to run for office? What do you want to do? Remember, as President (or any other elected official), you are to enact policies on behalf of your voters (constituents)
- How many votes are you going to need to be elected?
- How many people are registered, and what is the expected turnout, in each state? How can you change that?
- Are there certain groups of voters you want to appeal to (women, young voters, environmentalists)?
- You will have to research your opponents, and see what you offer that they do not
- You will spend a lot of your time fund raising for the campaign: traveling, putting in appearances, shaking hands with people, having dinners, etc.
- You need to 'market yourself,' that is make yourself known and appealing to the voters you need
- This includes being a presence on social media, which can be a minefield of problems not only for you but for your family and the people you associate with
Still think you'd do all right?
Did you know that if you raise enough money, the Federal Election Committee will match you?
If you prove that you have raised $5,000 in 20 states, you will receive matching campaign funds from the FEC. You must submit a letter and papers that certify this in order to claim your matching funds.
If you spend less than $5000 of your own money, you don't need to file any paperwork.