Salaries for campaign managers can vary according to the size and complexity of the campaign. But no matter how big the campaign is, it can be a virtually nonstop job. Campaign managers can be on call 24 hours a day, fielding interview requests from the press, mediating disputes with local politicians, overseeing fundraising and organising volunteers. The pay often doesn't reflect the strenuous work that goes into getting a candidate elected.
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According to Joan Axelrod-Contrada and Richard E. Neal, authors of a career guide for political science majors, campaign managers for local offices can make approximately £325 per month. Campaign managers for state legislative offices may earn about £1,300 per month. A manager for a U.S. House race can make about £3,250 per month or £19,500 for the campaign. Managers for senators and governors earn between £3,250 and £4,550 per month.
Campaign managers for presidential candidates may see wider swings in pay level. According to Marc Ambinder, blogging for "The Atlantic," the top paid Republican campaign manager for the 2008 primaries worked for Mike Huckabee and earned £9,750 per month. Mitt Romney's manager earned £4,550 per month. Pay may be similar on the Democratic side. In 2003, a campaign manager for Joseph Lieberman earned £9,750 per month. A manager for John Edwards earned £7,020 per month, according to "The New York Times."
Campaign managers sometimes negotiate win bonuses. That's a lump sum payment for winning. Other campaign managers negotiate a concession for buying media advertising. Joe Trippi, who was Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean's manager, made £4,550 per month in 2003, plus a 5 or 10 per cent commission for ad buying, according to "The New York Times." Some campaign managers become campaign consultants, working for several candidates simultaneously and providing advice to campaign managers or candidates.
If you've been offered a job as a campaign manager and don't know whether the salary range you are being offered is fair, do some research. Campaign finance data are public information in the United States. Look up salaries for similar races for the past couple of election seasons. Keep in mind that managers for incumbents have an easier time raising money and therefore may earn more. So if you are working for a long-shot candidate, your salary will be priced accordingly.
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- "The Atlantic"; The Best Paid Republican Campaign Manager Is... Marc Armbinder; October 23 2007
- Career Opportunities in Politics, Government, and Activism; Joan Axelrod-Contrada, Richard E. Neal; 2008
- "The New York Times"; Political Points; October 26, 2003
- "The New York Times"; Bloomberg's Election Aides Said to Get Customary Bonuses; Michael Barbaro and David W. Chen; December 29, 2009
- The Campaign Manager Blog: What Does a Campaign Manager Make