COVID-19 impacting campaign season

Local News

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) – The COVID-19 pandemic may be changing how candidates reach out to voters, but getting connected is still a top priority for anyone hoping to win in June.

“We would have probably had close to a dozen coffees throughout the county to get out and reach out to the public, and right now that’s just a difficult thing to do,” Chad Sheehan, candidate for Woodbury County Sheriff said.

Candidates for Iowa’s fourth district have canceled town halls, fundraisers, and going door-to-door. KCAU 9 spoke with each campaign on how they’re adjusting to an almost exclusively virtual campaign trail.

“We’re really adapting to the current climate, which is to reach out in a targeted way to primary voters by phone, and social media and email, and respecting that people are going through a tough time right now,” Jeremy Taylor, candidate for Iowa’s 4th district said.

Many candidates have turned to Facebook Live to give voters a more face-to-face experience.

“We have interviews lined up with different people–just a way for us to connect with people during these unusual and unprecendented times,” JD Scholten, candidate for Iowa’s 4th district said.

“Iowans especially expect to see and meet their candidates. Hopefully, that’s the medium that people will want to work with right now,” Bret Richards, candidate for Iowa’s 4th district said.

Some republican candidates are now calling for an online debate ahead of the primaries.

“I’m all for it. I wish we could get all the candidates together in some type of forum because I think it’s great for the voters to know more about each of the candidates,” Steve Reeder, candidate for Iowa’s 4th district said.

“We’re always looking for opportunities to deliver that message to voters and really contrast that message with Congressman King,” Matt Leopold with Feenstra for Congress said.

However, Rep. Steve King says his campaign can wait.

“I really don’t feel much like campaigning for public office in the middle of a crisis where people’s lives are at stake,” King said.

In the meantime, voters are being encouraged to fill out an absentee ballot.

“Republicans are good voters. I know that they’ll take advantage of opportunities to vote whether they don’t have the opportunity to vote in person, and whether they have to vote absentee instead,” Suzan Stewart with the Woodbury County GOP said.

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