Studio@620 The Studio@620

Walk Before You Run – A Primer on Running for Political Office

A Workshop to Prepare Potential Candidates for the Realities of Running for Office

If the thought of running for political office has ever crossed your mind, then don’t miss the workshop, “Walk Before You Run – A Primer on Running for Political Office,” hosted by Common Language, Think Big! and PlanningWorks. The program was designed to offer people who’d like to run for elected office valuable insights into what it’s like to be a political candidate and help them determine if they have what it takes to launch a campaign. 

“Walk Before You Run” will be held on Saturday, March 28, from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. at Studio @620 in St. Petersburg. 

What to expect

“It’s been our experience that most people have a lot of unreal expectations when it comes to running for office. They don’t really understand what they’re getting themselves and their families into,” said Larry Biddle, owner and principal of PlanningWorks. “This workshop will enlighten potential candidates about the realities of running for office, like asking people for money and building a support system of volunteers.”

“Walk Before You Run” will feature numerous local elected officials, party leaders and political commentators sharing their advice and experience on a variety of topics, including:

  • Overview of criteria for a viable political candidate
  • What challenges can you expect as a candidate, and how would you overcome them?
  • What it takes to get started:  determining if you’re qualified, testing the waters, and getting candidate training
  • Initial campaign planning

At the end of the day, attendees will break out into groups for an exercise on designing a campaign for a fictitious “Candidate Joe” to understand how what they learned is applied in practice.

“We want to make sure people have an understanding of the process as well as the role of the office for which they’re considering a run,” said Mitch Kates, political consultant and principal of Think Big! “You’d be surprised how many people actually get into office and once there, think, ‘Gee, this is not the job I thought it would be.’ It’s really important that candidates ask themselves if they fully understand what their responsibilities would be and if they’re running for the right office.”

Speakers and Presenters

Confirmed speakers at this time include Kevin Beckner, Hillsborough County Commissioner; Mary Mulhern, Tampa City Councilwoman; Rep. Bill Heller; Alison Morano, Pasco County DEC chair; Patricia Kemp, Hillsborough County DEC chair; Ken Quinnell, Florida Progressive Coalition and Mark Ferrulo, Executive Director of Progress Florida.

To learn more and register, click here:

The cost of the full-day workshop is $65 and will include lunch.


About Common Language

Located in vibrant downtown St. Petersburg, Common Language provides innovative companies and non-profit organizations with strategic consulting and communications services that help them achieve their business goals.  For more information, please visit our web site at


About PlanningWorks
PlanningWorks provides strategy, communications and development guidance to nonprofits and political organizations.  Larry Biddle, PlanningWorks' founder and principal, has over 35 years of experience as a leading national fundraiser. He served as deputy national finance director for Howard Dean's presidential campaign, where he worked extensively in the areas of Internet giving, direct mail and telemarketing.  Over the course of his career, Biddle has raised more than $350 million for nonprofit organizations and $31 million for political candidates.  He created client-centered Internet growth plans for organizations such as Common Good Ventures, International Women's Health Council, PDC Affordable Housing, Make-a-Wish Foundation and the Woodcock Foundation.  To learn more, visit


About Think Big!

Think Big! is a political consulting firm founded and operated by Mitch Kates. Prior to entering the political world, Mitch worked professionally in marketing and has brought his marketing and brand-building experience to the political world in his approach to campaigns. In 2004, Mitch was part of John Kerry’s team for Western Pennsylvania and from there he went on to manage a 2005 mayoral race in Boston. He then came to Florida to manage the 2006 state senate race for Charlie Justice and the Tampa City Council race for Mary Mulhern, successfully overcoming a considerable budget disparity in both. In 2007, Mitch worked for the Florida Democratic Party as the state convention coordinator. Most recently he co-managed the 2008 cycle Vote Local coordinated campaign in Pinellas and Hillsborough counties as well as managed the successful and historic campaign of Kevin Beckner for Hillsborough County Commission. 





Patron Sponsors

Smith & Associates Realtors
Al May Central Art Supply Company Bank of AmericaBella Brava City of St. Petersburg Creative Loafing Eckerd CollegeHermanHOME Florida Humanities Council i love the 'burg Gobioff Foundation Florida Arts and Culture - Florida Division  of Cultural Affairs Kahwa Coffee Roasting Law Offices of  Diane Bailey, P.C.Progress Energy Renaissance Vinoy Hotel Rouson & Associates Sembler Company Stetson University College of Law St. Pete Brasserie St Petersburg/Clearwater  Convention and Visitor’s Bureau St. Petersburg Times SunTrust Bank TradeWinds Island Resorts on St. Pete Beach Trust for Public Land Tyrone Frame & Mirror USF St. Petersburg Watermark