How Do You Run for Local Office During a Pandemic? [OPINION]
Money is an important part of politics. A candidate has to be able to contact the voters and persuade them to vote for them. Electoral politics is marketing.
Reaching out to the voting public has become more difficult since the arrival of COVID-19. The ability to knock on doors has been curtailed by the new standards of social distancing. Forget about bringing food into senior housing for a campaign event with the most reliable of city voters; the lack of personal contact between voters and candidates makes it difficult to create an individual bond.
The current pandemic has also made campaigning more expensive. Because it is impossible to have events and nearly as difficult to send volunteers to houses, the campaigns are going to have to rely on more expensive forms of direct and indirect marketing methods.
The lack of ability to have events also makes it harder to raise money. The Greater New Bedford area has a long tradition of political fundraising events. Candidates use cocktail parties, breakfasts, and bean suppers to bring together their supporters and raise money in a social atmosphere. At least for now, that manner of raising money is gone.
With an open at-large seat on the New Bedford City Council, candidates are starting to line up for what is an extremely rare opportunity. With the open seat drawing in serious challengers and the vast majority of incumbents running for re-election, the campaign season will get busier and noisier quicker.
Local issues and controversies are bringing out candidates for local office in Fairhaven and Dartmouth, too.
Smart candidates will be booking their radio and digital advertising early this year. The really smart candidates will be on the phone to friends and family asking for money. Printers and direct mail professionals will be in demand along with the fine services of the United States postal employees.
Candidates who are serious are going to show up fast as this space keeps you updated on the latest campaign finance disclosures that become public.
Chris McCarthy is the host of The Chris McCarthy Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 10 a.m. to noon. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @Chris_topher_Mc. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.