COVID-19 & Campaigns: How Candidates Are Navigating the ‘New Normal’

COVID-19 has impacted just about every aspect of life over the last few months.

In this election year, it is also impacting the way candidates for office campaign. 06 26 2020 Campaigning During Covid Pkg 6

“My focus has to be, everyday, just getting us through this crisis,” said U.S. Senator Gary Peters.

On top of his senate work, Sen. Peters is also in the middle of a campaign against Republican challenger John James.

“My focus is doing my work as a U.S. Senator,” Sen. Peters said. “These are incredibly challenging times for all of us across the state and the country.”

Sen. Peters has been doing virtual events as a way to campaign in the age of COVID-19.

“It allows me to connect with folks all across the state on a very consistent basis, but I also get out,” Sen. Peters said. “I still think nothing is better than actual human face to face contact.”

Dr. Scott LaDeur is a political science professor at North Central Michigan College. He says virtual is not ideal.

“It’s certainly better than nothing, but it still falls short of what a traditional pre COVID-19 campaign would have been,” LaDeur said.

He says COVID-19 has greatly impacted campaigns, including presidential politics.

“I think what we’re gonna see is much less face to face, in person campaigning and far more efforts at digital advertising, mail advertising,” LaDeur said. “Because it is a way to reach someone without having to be in their presence.”

For candidates in small, local races, it’s harder to get their message across. They often rely on door knocking, or small events.

“That whole exposure, they just don’t have and that’s going to be a challenge,” LaDeur said.

Sen. Peters plans on taking his annual motorcycle tour of the state this summer. It’s a way he can connect, while being socially distant.

“I intend to be out there, riding as much as I can this summer and meeting folks across the state,” Sen. Peters said.

Northern Michigan’s News Leader did reach out to Sen. Peter’s Republican challenger John James, but his schedule didn’t allow for an interview with us Friday.

Categories: Coronavirus, Election 2020