Running in an open seat, has its own challenges. For campaign signs, it’s important to keep in mind that all candidates will have low name recognition, so campaign yard signs and other tactics to increase candidate name identification are doubly important.
First, does the outgoing elected official have a good reputation? If the person leaving office is well-respected in the community, consider branding yourself similarly. If the outgoing official had, for example, used fold over signs that were brown, consider using the same type of sign and use the same color. Of course, if the elected official wasn’t popular or left disgraced, you should pay special attention to differentiate yourself from the outgoing official. You can use the power of mimicry or differentiation to your advantage not just with the candidate that you are running against but also to identify or disassociate yourself from the outgoing official.
It’s best to avoid indicating your party affiliation on a campaign lawn sign particularly in a competitive seat, but in the case of open seats that strongly favor a certain party, referring to a political party can help. One of the benefits of political parties in American politics is that they are a shortcut for voters. In general, when a voter knows a candidate’s party affiliation they make assumptions, that are usually correct, about the person’s views on issues and general approach to governing. Candidates that indicate their party affiliation on campaign signs help voters make assumptions about who you are as a candidate, which is useful when you are a member of the majority party in the district and have low name ID.
Finally, open seats are characterized by candidates with low name recognition. The principle benefit of campaign yard signs is that they increase candidate name ID, so get campaign signs out early. Candidates should increase their name identification as early and significantly as possible, so that the campaign can move onto to identifying who voters’ support in the election, persuading undecided voters, and ultimately getting your supporters out to the vote on Election Day.
Check out the slideshow for the Cliff Notes version of these tips for campaign yard signs in open seats: