How to Address a Candidate

How to Address a Candidate for Elected Office?

What is the correct way to address the candidate in a letter? The candidate is a former mayor of a city.  Shall I write ‘Candidate (Name)? Or do I use ‘Mr./Ms. (Name)’ ?
——–– Martin Dexter

Dear Mr. Dexter:    How to Address a Candidate

—-#1) In Direct Address – When Addressing as a Candidate
—-—-When you use an honorific, use:
—-——Mr./Mrs./Dr./etc. (Name)

—-—-Former Officials? In the U.S. tradition, a candidate runs for office as a private citizen. Formal address as Mr./Mrs./Dr./etc. (Name) best represents their qualification to be a candidate.  Prior military service, serving as an ambassador, being a retired judge and other career achievements will certainly be detailed in his campaign literature. Do not address as a former anything. No military rank, no judge, no mayor, no governor as part of their name.  

Robert Hickey author of “Honor & Respect”

—-#2) Referring to -or- Writing About the Candidate
—-—-Don’t use a former title as part of his name in writing.  Use  Mr./Mrs./Dr./etc. (Name).  That the candidate served in another role can follow his name as a descriptor when pertinent.

—-—-—-This is good: “Mr. Robert Thompson, candidate for mayor is a retired United States Navy Captain.”

—-—-—-This is not good: “Captain Robert Thompson, USN, is candidate for mayor”.

—-#3) Oral Use of “Candidate (Name)”
—-—-Sometimes, orally, a moderator at a debate or a newscaster might refer to a candidate as Candidate (Name). It’s a bit like  ‘Central High School French Teacher Tom Wilson said….’. It is a descriptive phrase to make it clear to the reader who the speaker/writer is talking/writing about. It is not a formal form of address. Orally it’s fine. But, It would not be used on an envelope or in a written salutation.

—-—-– Robert Hickey How to Address a Candidate

Related Posts:
—-Candidate for Office
—-The Honorable, Use of
—-The Late, Use of
—-Pro Tempore

Robert Hickey author of “Honor & Respect”

When Should You Use the Forms on this Page?

You can use these forms of address for any mode of communication: addressing a letter, invitation, card or Email. (If there are differences between the official and social forms of address, I will have mentioned the different forms.)  The form noted in the salutation is the same form you say when you say their name in conversation or when you greet them.

Not Finding Your Answer?

—-#1)  At right on desktops, at the bottom of every page on tablets and phones, is a list of all the offices, officials & topics covered on the site.

—-#2)  If you don’t see the official you seek included or your question answered send me an e-mail. I am pretty fast at sending a reply: usually the next day or so (unless I am traveling.)  Note: I don’t have mailing or Email addresses for any of the officials and I don’t keep track of offices that exist only in history books.

—-#3)  If I think your question is of interest to others, Sometimes I post the question  – but always change all the specifics.

— Robert Hickey 

Robert Hickey author of “Honor & Respect”