Something more than a happy birthday vote
May 12, 2012 11:14 PM   Subscribe

Birthday gift filter: What to get a sibling running for local public office?

I would like to get my brother ( 30 y/o) something more than the typical gift for his birthday since he is running an exciting and largely successful primary campaign for local public office. Gifts from me in the past have been to the country fair (popular festival in our state), something from a grange co op for his garden, etc.

His campaign has been largely successful thus far, and he is expected to win the primary next week. The general will be a whole other challenge, but I'd like to get him something that'd help him remember this experience or something that will help him along the way. I've already volunteered and donated, so hopefully this will be something distinctively different. Any ideas? Maybe something to take with him when he meets people while canvassing or rallying...but what?

* Complication - he lives 4-5 hrs away which means I don't have any awesome photos from his time thus far canvassing or debating and don't personally know many of his key campaign people.

posted by goodnight moon to Grab Bag (11 answers total)
If he has political aspirations (as opposed to, he just wanted to run for this one office), William Safire's Lend Me Your Ears is a wonderful collection of excellent and/or historic speeches that can make a useful and inspiring reference for years to come.

Good luck to him.
posted by cribcage at 11:33 PM on May 12, 2012

Maybe a book. You could search at Amazon, such as for "city council" or "local government."

Are you creative? Does he have a website or other promotional material that you could borrow from, such as to make a collage or Powerpoint with?
posted by maurreen at 12:11 AM on May 13, 2012

I wonder how hard it would be to out a decal on a toy bus. You could do up something like the Straight Talk Express, but with his face and campaign slogan on it. A local printer might be able to do it.
posted by backwards guitar at 4:09 AM on May 13, 2012

Out = put
posted by backwards guitar at 4:10 AM on May 13, 2012

If he has a campaign "logo" or anything like that, why not pay to have 100 bumper stickers or lawn signs created?
posted by lobbyist at 6:26 AM on May 13, 2012 [2 favorites]

What lobbyist said. Money is what he needs!
posted by By The Grace of God at 8:44 AM on May 13, 2012

If he doesn't already have a nice, professionally-done set of publicity photos, that could be a nice gift. And/or maybe a set of posed puctures of him doing campaigny things - kissing cute babies, having earnest discussions with seniors, and leading masses of campaign volunteers at parades.
posted by lakeroon at 11:33 AM on May 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

Campaign cash. The man spends hours of every day calling people and begging for funds, this would absolutely make his day.

Then his campaign manager can spend it on what he needs to win.
posted by Hollywood Upstairs Medical College at 12:40 PM on May 13, 2012

Something practical: buy him a CallFire account that automatically calls all of his potential voters. He'd have the option to customize his audiorecorded message and also allow voters to press a certain button to speak with a member of his campaign staff.

Something wonderful: a golf+spa trip for he and his wife dated a few days after the results from his primary election are received. Whether he wins or loses, it's always important to unwind after putting forth a lot of effort.
posted by lotusmish at 7:13 PM on May 13, 2012

Just a note of caution--if you take any of the wonderful suggestions above, talk to his campaign staff first. It's likely they will have to report it as an in-kind donation, depending on the state you live in. Some states have very strict rules about campaign donations. They will be very grateful for your help, and the legal reporting won't faze them at all, it's routine.

I would strongly recommend against buying him campaign stuff without coordinating with his staff first. If you go out and buy 100 bumper stickers with his name on it without coordinating with him or his staff, you may trigger reporting requirements on yourself for an independent expenditure. Some states have low thresholds for what constitutes a large enough expense to require registration as a political action committee. It may, in fact, be illegal for you to do this without registering as PAC, and it may be illegal to mention his name on an uncoordinated expense. Coordination and IE laws vary wildly from state to state, but his team will know the relevant local rules.

If you give him a gift that is not campaign-related, and he is not an incumbent subject to gift disclosures, there will likely be no reporting requirements at all.

Good luck to you and your brother. I don't mean to sound scary, we just like having our t's crossed and i's dotted, and "shady campaign finance" is always a good attack line. :)
posted by Hollywood Upstairs Medical College at 9:53 PM on May 13, 2012

crabcage- thanks for the book suggestion! That looks up his alley and helpful for sure.
Lobbyist and Lakeroom - great ideas! Personalized swag goes a long way.

I think I'll do a combination of the personal - book of inspirational speeches or something similar and campaignish- some new commemorative swag to give out to helpful volunteers and keep for himself to remember the experience.

Hollywood Upstairs Medical College (ha!)- thanks for this absolutely correct warning. He's very careful about reporting and I'm sure at least part of my gift will have to be reported, especially if it's swag. It's easy to do, so no problem there.

Thanks so much all for your thoughtful ideas!
posted by goodnight moon at 10:38 PM on May 13, 2012

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