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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.

Central Oregon / Coronavirus / Deschutes County / Election / News / Politics / Top Stories
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Alec Nolan

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



  1. Indeed it is a most interesting campaign year –

    With alternative Media playing an important role in the education of voters locally as well as nationally regarding issues and candidates.

    For example, candidate Facebook campaign pages are understandably constructed to put the best spin on the candidate represented. Case in point are the FB pages for Sheriff Shane Nelson and his opponent, Scott Schaier.

    Recently, Candidate Schaier’s campaign page offered his being endorsed by now retired chief of police – and Schaier’s former boss – Jim Porter. The below alternative Media examination of that endorsement is representative of “the rest of the story” as legendary broadcaster Paul Harvey used to say.

    Voters deserve to have the best, most accurate, and compelling information made available to them as we prepare to go to the polls in November. Candidates who hide behind COVID 19 restrictions to best suit their political aims, or otherwise fall short of doing all that is possible in this day and age to get their message across, should perhaps keep their day jobs.

  2. Lets hope that there will be a new Oregon Governors race this November as well. The local leftist media silence about the successful recall Kate Brown effort is not going to change the fact that there is a high probability that Brown is getting recalled. Why the silence Barney?

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