Women are flooding ballots across the country in unprecedented numbers this year. For those who are first-time candidates, the experience includes a crash course in campaigning. Most office-seekers will need a message, money and someone to manage the race to win. But there are some basic everyday supplies that shouldn’t be overlooked. Here are five things veteran politicians and campaign pros won’t leave home without:
A power source: Whether you’re making fundraising calls, tweeting selfies with supporters or reviewing briefing documents, you’re going to want a functioning phone when bouncing between meetings and events. A reliable wireless charger will keep you up and running, no matter where you are. While you’re at it, it’s always helpful to have extra USB cords and plugs on hand to add juice when near an outlet.
Photo-opp supplies: No one likes getting caught in a picture or TV spot with a shiny forehead. Pack a compact of powder for touch ups on the go (this goes for men in the political spotlight, too!). A lint roller is also clutch for brushing off your clothes before events and appearances (Freshman Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash, once praised the tool as an unexpected savior on the trail).
Immunity-boosting aides: Throughout any campaign, you can expect to defend your positions and past record or votes. But you’ll also need to defend yourself against germs (just think about how many hands you’ll be shaking and babies you’ll hold!). The last thing you want is to get sick before a big debate or in the final stretch of the campaign. Stock up on hand sanitizer in bulk (hand them out to your staff, too!) and throw a few packets of Emergen-C in your bag for when you start to feel a cold coming on.
Fuel (and flavor) for long days on the road: There are many things you won’t be able to control on the campaign trail. One will most certainly be what — and when — you eat. Throw some simple grab-and-go snacks, like Luna Bars or roasted almonds, in your bag to keep hunger at bay on busy days canvassing your district. A tiny bottle of hot sauce (a la Hillary Clinton) or a mini tin of Maldon Salt can be used to boost the flavor of bland meals on the road.
Essentials for connecting and communicating: You’ll meet a lot of people out campaigning, some of whom are going to have questions or requests you can’t immediately answer. Longtime elected officials will tell you following up is key to courting (and keeping) supporters. Bring along a notebook to keep track of folks who need additional information. And don’t forget a few boxes of classic thank you cards for expressing gratitude to all those donors, supporters, and volunteers who help push you to victory.
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