Running for Federal Office

Requirements for Running for US House or US Senate

U.S. Senate 30 9 years Inhabitant of the State at the time of the election 6 years from January 3rd
U.S. Congress 25 7 years Inhabitant of the State at the time of the election 2 years from January 3rd

House, & Senate Candidate Registration


An individual running for a seat in the House or Senate or for the office of U.S. President becomes a candidate when he or she raises or spends more than $5,000 in contributions or expenditures. Money raised and spent to test the waters does not count toward this dollar threshold until the individual decides to run for federal office or conducts activities that indicate he or she is actively campaigning rather than testing the waters.

All such candidates must register with a Statement of Candidacy (Form 2) and designate a principal campaign committee within 15 days of becoming a candidate as described. Candidates (including incumbents) must file a Statement of Candidacy for each election cycle in which they are candidates.

All candidates file with the FEC, electronically or by paper.

Candidates who file electronically are required to use Form 2. Candidates who file by paper can use either Form 2 or a letter with the same information that’s captured on Form 2.

The Statement of Candidacy requires a candidate’s signature. It collects some basic information, including the candidate's name and address. It’s also where candidates authorize any campaign committees working for them.

Register as a candidate using one of the following options:


What to do first?

Before you announce, it’s important to talk to your spouse, your family and close friends.  Let them know you are thinking about running.  RED FLAG: If your spouse isn’t on board with your plans, then you don’t want to run.  It will lead down a rough and bumpy road.

After you’ve gotten the blessing to run for office from your spouse and family, your first task is to find a campaign treasurer.  You can’t run without one, and you’ll want to find someone who is detail-oriented, because you don’t want to be late with filings.   Your treasurer’s name will be on every piece of political material you put out, from your website to tee shirts.  A good rule to follow is that when in doubt,  put the authority line on it. I will address the authority line in a later column.

After you decide to be a candidate and you have your treasurer, you need to go to Annapolis to file.

When  you go to file

You should make a day of it and take plenty of pictures and videos on the day you file.  Consider doing a Facebook Live right after you file – just something brief.