An individual running for a seat in the House or Senate 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.
Congressional 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.
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:
Read step-by-step Form 2 instructions.
Updating an existing registration
A candidate (including an incumbent) must file a new Form 2 for each election cycle in which he or she is a candidate.
Updating the principal campaign committee
Using Form 2, the candidate may either redesignate their previous campaign committee (if it has not been terminated) or designate a new principal campaign committee.
- If the candidate designates a new principal campaign committee, the committee must file a new Statement of Organization (Form 1) within 10 days after being designated. The newly designated committee will receive a new FEC identification number.
If the candidate redesignates an existing committee, the committee need only amend its Statement of Organization (Form 1) within 10 days to reflect any new information (for example, a change in the committee’s name or address). The redesignated committee will retain its original FEC identification number.
Adding other authorized committees
In addition to the principal campaign committee, the candidate may designate other authorized committees to receive contributions or make expenditures on their behalf. The following steps must be taken:
- The candidate designates the authorized committee by filing a statement (either Form 2 or a letter) with the principal campaign committee.
- Within 10 days after being designated by the candidate, the authorized committee must file a Statement of Organization (Form 1) with the candidate’s principal campaign committee.
- The principal campaign committee, in turn, files the documents with the appropriate offices.
Registering for special elections
Candidates running in special elections who have received contributions or made expenditures over $5,000 for the special election should file a Statement of Candidacy indicating the year of the special election and designating a principal campaign committee to raise and spend funds for the special election.
If the candidate is also running in regularly scheduled elections and has received contributions or made expenditures over $5,000 for those elections, an additional Statement of Candidacy should be filed to indicate the year of the regularly scheduled election. The candidate can designate the same principal campaign committee or designate a new committee to raise and spend funds for the regularly scheduled elections.