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Campaigning during coronavirus a challenge, professor says

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SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Next week’s Indiana primary elections might as well be as crucial as the general election thanks to the local democratic stronghold, making candidate’s push to voters all the more impactful.

But then then there’s the hurdle of campaigning during coronavirus concerns.

ABC57 spoke with IU-South Bend political science professor Dr. Elizabeth Bennion about difficulties candidates – especially lesser-known challengers – face given they cannot meet with voters in person.

“Door knocks, Face-to-face conversations, (those) are the gold standard,” Bennion said.
“Those are the most effective way at mobilizing voters and getting them to cast a vote on Election Day. And that is something that is not available to candidates right now.”

Bennion said it’s new ground to track an Indiana election during a pandemic, but other strategies remain.

“We’re seeing a lot of mailers from candidates who can afford it,” Bennion said.
“We’re also seeing a lot of focus on social media - candidates trying to put out content that voters might be interested in, and then have that content sponsored by their campaigns.”

But getting desired word out has been a challenge all local candidates have, Bennion said, even with Indiana’s primary moved back from the original date of May 5 to June 2.

“They don’t have the opportunity to take advantage of big events (like) the parades, the picnics, the festivals that they might like to participate in to reach a lot of voters at the same time.”

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