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No shaking hands, kissing babies: Candidates zoom onto unique campaign trail

Candidates forced to think outside the box to engage with the community

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Over the next couple of months, Oregon's political candidates will be busy on the campaign trail for the upcoming November election. But it's a trail unlike any seen before.

The days of politicians getting in front of large groups to form a rally or fundraising event are on hold, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Many candidates running tell us that they are well aware of the difficulties that lie ahead, so they're doing what they can to reimagine a campaign strategy.

State Rep. Cheri Helt, R-Bend, said Wednesday she was able to knock on 11,000 doors in her last, successful campaign run, but with COVID-19 concerns in play, she's implemented a new strategy.

"We had to come up with an innovative solution," Helt said. "We are driving a van equipped with a sound system, so I can talk to people over a microphone while maintaining social distancing."

Helt's opponent in House District 54, Democrat Jason Kropf, also told us he's using technology to listen to the community as best he can.

"We anticipated this campaign being a lot of door-knocking, and that's not what's happening right now," Kropf said. "We're reaching out to people through social media and having house parties via Zoom."

Leaders of the Deschutes County Democratic and Republican parties tell us that the majority of campaigns will be in full swing by mid-September.

Both parties also said their fundraising efforts remain, strong despite social distancing sidelining events.

Article Topic Follows: Government-politics

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Alec Nolan

Alec Nolan is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Alec here.


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