How well do you know your candidate?

How well do you know your candidate?

The political season is in full swing, and not a year goes by that you don’t read something that makes you wonder – Why didn’t they know about this before?

A recent example is my latest entry in the Due Diligence Hall of Shame, because, in politics – as in life – it’s good to know as much about the people on your side as you know about the the other side.

It seems that a candidate here in Colorado has dropped out of the running after his personal alt-right blog became public knowledge. According to the Denver Post, a spokesman for Colorado’s GOP said the party had only recently learned about the blog.

Opposition research is nothing new, and political parties have been trying to dig up dirt on the other candidate for as long as we’ve been voting. But it seems that we’re still taken by surprise by the very people we support.

This case is notable, though, given how easy it is to find someone’s blog these days, especially one with posts that span a decade. It also makes you wonder – If they don’t know about this, what else don’t they know about?

At the very least, if you’re throwing your support in someone’s direction, first conduct some basic due diligence:

Check court and other public records – While not a perfect system, these records can reveal a pattern of bad behavior, including multiple bankruptcies or taking their business partners to court.

Search and monitor news and social media – Fill in what public records miss (and they do miss a lot). Look for the good and the bad for a thorough view of someone’s character.

Make some calls – You won’t find everything you need to know online. See what you can learn from past employers, co-workers, business partners, or other associates. Depending on your level of risk, call plenty of people.

How well do you really know your candidate? Do a little due diligence – and don’t forget to vote.



  • Hal Kirkwood /

    Due diligence on a political candidate?! Why would anyone do that? Why would someone want to research the background and activities of a person that will inevitably have a significant influence over their lives as they make policy and vote on legislation? Isn’t it really just about liking their personality and if they say the things I want to hear? it’s as if you’re suggesting that we should be an informed public making well-supporteed choices?

    Great article, Marcy.

    • Marcy Phelps /

      Thanks, Hal. We should all become informed citizens. What I found interesting, though, is that his own party didn’t appear to check him out before supporting him. And it doesn’t matter which party. Another Colorado candidate just dropped out (from the other party) after someone discovered their criminal background!

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