What's Holding You Back From Running For Public Office?

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Back when I was a college student living in Washington, D.C., I used to (secretly) fantasize about running for public office one day. It’s the kinda thing that happens when you live with a bunch of poli-sci nerds who all think they’re destined to become the next generation of kingmakers. It gets you thinking, “Hey. Why not me?”


But then I Googled what all it would take to run for something simple, like a seat on the city council, and my fledgling dreams of governmental infiltration were swiftly quashed. For starters, you need money. A lot of it. While DC’s city council has recently taken steps to enact campaign finance reform to limit the influence of corporate backers and make it easy for regular folks to run, the same isn’t true of many cities across the country. Even if money wasn’t an issue, I’m a 20-something who came of age just in time for smartphones and Twitter to capture things about myself that (ahem) might not test well with certain potential voters.

Today, Jon Ossoff, a 30-year-old filmmaker with no political experience other than interning for John Lewis and working as a congressional staffer for Hank Johnson, will see if he has what it takes to become the representative for Georgia’s sixth congressional district. Ossoff’s running as a Democrat in a historically Republican district and, all things considered, he’s got a pretty good shot snagging the seat. Stories like Ossoff’s give me hope that maybe, one day, I might be able to run a successful campaign for some kind of public office, but, for the time being, I think I’ll stick to blogging.

What about you? What would it take to get you to run?

Charles Pulliam-Moore is an NYC-based culture critic whose work centers on fandom, pop culture, politics, race, and sexuality. He still thinks Cyclops made a few valid points.