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:
—-—-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