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How to Become Mayor of a City

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At some point in your life, you will feel the urge to become a leader. Maybe it’s becoming the coach of your child's soccer team, or opening up your own business. Or maybe it’s much bigger, such as leading one’s own city as mayor. This article will help show you how to run for mayor.

This article is designated towards people who have big dreams, ambition, and the urge to step up as a leader for their community. However, I am not going to kid you, it is definitely not easy, nor is it quick. One has to be aware of the difficulties that must be conquered, which include the requirements that one should be financially stable, have a know-how of the city and its people, and above all, have charisma, an accommodating personality, and leadership skills. I would like to add a side-note here though; it is much easier to become a mayor of a small city than a large city (exponential difference). Also, if you are wondering what the educational prerequisites are to becoming a major, the answer is that educational prerequisites vary from city to city. In many cities, you do not need a college degree to become mayor. The great thing about American democracy is that almost anyone can run for office after a certain age.

The following steps may be of help to get you to that highly anticipated position in the city.

1. You must get informed on the affairs of the city council; this may include times of elections, and annual general meetings among others. You must also know the affairs and landscape of the city you wish to lead. I would recommend that you have lived in the city for a period of time; it is very embarrassing to contest to lead a city that you know nothing about.

2. Next, it is very difficult to get a direct pass to the top seat. One has to make his/her presence felt and get enough acknowledgment to cruise them to a mayor position. This could come from establishing yourself as a positive icon in the city and getting to know many people by starting from a lower position, such as an alderman or councilor, and advancing to a higher position as time progresses.

3. Third, listening to peoples’ needs and working out an effective plan to solve them is a plus. Associate yourself with the influential people within the city will also help you get easily recognized over a short period of time and will guarantee you support. Gathering church support is always a plus. Furthermore, becoming acquainted with local business owners helps, as it can levy you additional support if you act genuinely concerned and listen to their problems. Explaining to them who you are and what you plan to do to increase commerce in the area. By showing them your care, you can gain their interest.

4. Go to your City Council to learn what you need to do to get included in the ballot. Usually you will need to present a petition with signatures from people living in the city (the number of signatures required varies from city to city) to get your name on the ballot for mayor. Call your local State Election Commission to see what it will cost to buy a list of registered voters in your area. Go door to door, spread your flyers, talk with people (or hire an agency to go talk to the registered voters and get signatures for your petition), throw neighborhood barbecues, etc. Just get your name out there.

5. If you want to run as mayor under a party (like Republican or Democrat / conservative or liberal), consider which one has the majority of followers in your city. By knowing whether your city is republican or democrat will enable you to pick popular sides on issues and garner more votes and followers. Think of it this way, if a business wanting to sell more of its product decides to give a free Football hat to anyone that orders its product in Washington D.C., would the hat have a logo of the Cincinnati Bengals or the Washington Redskins?

6. Setting up a campaign team will ease the workload and give more time for tackling sensitive issues which include looking for financial supporters. One should seriously consider using campaign banners, lawn signs, posters, billboards, etc to get his/her name out there. Ask friends, neighbors, businesses, etc to allow you to put up lawn signs. There are also agencies who will go around putting up your lawn signs in areas around the city.

Books that could Help You in Politics (help you better understand politics)

I hope this hub helps out those of you who want to become mayors. Please share your thoughts and feel free to ask any questions about this hub below. I would also love hearing about your plans to get involved in politics. Best of luck to everyone!



Angela on February 14, 2014:

Would like to get more involved in my city. I am seriously looking to run for Mayor. This may be my time to share and be the leader that God can use for such a time as this. I believe and am confident that I can bring new and fresh innovations to our city and surrounding communities.

Beta on May 19, 2013:

That's nice to have dreams, but if you dream and don't do nothing about it, your dream become a day dream!!

Mike on October 15, 2012:


Christopher on October 08, 2012:

I will like to become a mayor of a city

Isocrates (author) on August 11, 2012:


Being an alderman is not a requirement in most areas. I give it as an example to get into politics in your city, meet and network with many people, and use it as a stepping stone to the mayor position. Your current Mayor was able to do all this as an attorney. Furthermore, as an attorney, he was able to meet all the major requirements to becoming a mayor (financially stable, know-how of the city and its people, charisma, accommodating personality, leadership skills, etc). However, I understand how my wording made it sound as though one needed to become an alderman, so I have updated the hub.

I am very sorry to hear that the mayor has been damaging the city for personal gain. If you know that there is a good-sized group of people who dislike the mayor, you have a very good opportunity in your hands. If you are already a positive icon in your community and people already know of you, I would very much suggest running. If you do decide to run, make sure you get well informed (required paperwork/petitions). I recommend meeting with local businesses and showing that you care (gain their interest; ask them to distribute flyers, or show their support to you by putting up a poster or sign out front, etc), contact your Church (great way to gain support), throw a neighborhood barbecue / parties, etc. Just get out there!

Regardless of what you do, I wish you the best of luck. I can sense you genuinely care about your city. Please keep me posted and feel free to contact me if you have any additional questions/concerns.

Rachel Woodruff from Southwest Missouri on August 10, 2012:

I am not sure that being Alderman is really a requirement. Our current Mayor hadn't held office before although he was an attorney, and that was how most people knew of him. I am seriously considering a run against him and doing so have also never held public office before but he is corrupt and running businesses out of town something has to be done.


joseph on April 17, 2012:


Lorin on August 19, 2011:

I am 25 years old, with a great desire to help my community to thrive and be one that can have respect for itself. I find that politics has created a world where simple minded men and women who can make a caring change struggle to find a way to influence their community. I was raised a small community in northern Arizona that i care about deeply. I hope that we as a country can look for leaders who truly care about the individual growth and progress of specific families and people of their community. Though simple minded men and women may not know how to govern a community, it would be preferable to follow someone who cares about the people and knows nothing about governing, than some expert politician that knows nothing about the personal lives of the people he is supposedly serving. I think of times in our history when small communities would look for a leader in someone who was respected, one who they knew was honest, and who would look after the communities welfare before that of his own. A community guided by someone like that would inevitably thrive. As soon as greed is a factor in why someone seeks to be a leader that is the moment that failure for a community starts.

I thank you for this post that gives simple minded people a chance to look through the hoops, that is politics, and have a chance to serve the people they care about.

David on August 19, 2010:


If it IS, doesn't that make you stupid for even commenting ON the abvious?

Why people like you even post things like that are beside me. Everyone should be like you and know all you know right?

jarlaxle180 on September 23, 2009:

Isn't all of this somewhat obvious?