Ben's Guide to U.S. Government

How to Become a Senator

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The United States Senate has 100 members, of which one third are up for re-election every two years. A Senator therefore serves a six year term in Congress. Each of the 50 U.S. states elects two Senators to represent them. Responsibilities of Senators include, but are not limited to, drafting federal laws, voting on federal laws, confirmation of Presidential nominations, ratification of treaties, and impeachment powers. The current salary of a U.S. Senator is just over $169,000 annually, plus benefits.

Establish a campaign committee and campaign manager to handle fundraising, advertising, and public relations.

Check the Secretary of State’s website or visit the office for an official guide to your state’s requirements.Some states have a Board of Elections that you will need to refer to for this information.

Pay a filing fee, which varies by state. In some states you may have the option of collecting and submitting signatures by a particular date in order to wave the filing fee.

Visit the county elections office and obtain and complete nomination documents, which will likely include a requirement of between 40 and 60 nomination signatures. Nomination signatures must be those of registered voters of the same political party as the potential candidate.

Obtain and file the proper documents to report campaign finances and likely some type of personal finances disclosure.

Official voting results are available from the same office in which you registered for candidacy. Generally this will be the Secretary of State’s office.


Residency and voter registration laws vary by state, so it is vital to check the current laws of your state to be sure that you have obtained legal residency and voter status. Senate campaigns are very costly, with Senate winners spending on average over $7 million per election year. Raising a large sum of money is crucial to the longevity and effectiveness of most campaigns.