I want to say that the second most common statement I hear from people in regards to running for office is, “Not me. Not with my background. I have too many skeletons.” I do address this in chapter 14 when I discuss your background and how it should be explainable to your constituents. Everyone has done something they are ashamed of or made a mistake they hope does not come to light. However, when you run for office there is a good chance that those youthful indiscretions or a juvenile delinquency past will come out. That is not a reason though to discourage you from running for office.
As I say in the book, if your constituents can relate to you, they will forgive you and overlook your past wrongs. Now, I cannot say what will and will not fly with your voters. Nevertheless, if you know your community, you should know what they will and will not accept from their leaders (based on current politicians in office). You have to open up to your kitchen cabinet (trusted circle of friends) and have them tell you if your past is of no significance. You can do a poll of voters asking questions of different scenarios and situations, with your situation being one of them, if they have a disapproving opinion of a candidate with your background.
If you live in a very conservative area, you need to have those values to appeal to the voters. So it depends on what you did if they will accept you. Just switching parties might be too much for the voters in your area as crime. Just remember to use your past as a learning experience and how it has made you a better person and wiser to not make those mistakes again or how it showed you the right way and you are ready to help others do the right thing.
I worked with one candidate that was so worried his bankruptcy was going to come out and be used as a negative against him. He worried over and over how it was such a negative to be in bankruptcy and the voters would reject him. I reminded him of how he got behind on his bills. Not because of drugs or gambling, but because of medical bills he had to pay. That is an issue that many voters can relate to (the high cost of health care). Coupled with his low paying job there is logic as to why he would go into bankruptcy. Also at the time, the entire country was going thru a recession and everyone was having money problems. After thinking it over and talking with other trusted individuals, he calmed down and decided not to make the bankruptcy a big deal. In the end, our opponent, nor the media, brought it up. What you think is a mountain of trouble is a molehill in the eyes of others.
If you have the passion and desire to run for office, I hope to do it. I hope you don’t let your past stop you from making your future bright and helping your community.