MARIETA, Georgia – Voters in Georgia don’t even have to get out of their car these days to meet a candidate for the US Senate.
On Wednesday morning in Cobb County, one of Atlanta’s largest suburbs, dozens of voters walked slowly down the street leading to the horseshoe alley in front of the AME Church in Turner Chapel. Music came from loudspeakers as Democratic Senate nominee John Osoff spoke to voters as officials loaded yard signs into cars. They all wore masks and kept their distance.
But some Georgia Democrats warn that while events such as taking signs at Osoff̵
“A safe, socially distant return to a personal knock on the door is a must,” said Howard Franklin, an Atlanta-based Democratic consultant, adding that the post-death election suggested the Democrats’ decision to suspend almost all personal campaigns may have led to underperformance. of the party in some contests to vote down.
“When you look at the Democratic coalition, they won’t have the technology to call Zoom, or have time to jump in their car and run through town. It’s a luxury,” Franklin said.
Democrats in Georgia are celebrating the close victory of President-elect Joe Biden in the state, but nationally the party is also battling losses in well-funded Senate races – from Maine to North Carolina – that raised in January’s two run-offs.
Democrats face two well-funded Republican candidates. Osoff is running against Senator David Purdue, while Democrat Rafael Warnock is running against Republican Senator Kelly Löfler.
What the Democrat’s main game in Georgia’s runoff will look like remains unclear.
Party leaders and campaign officials say they are starting talks to return to knocking on the door, and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee announced multimillion-dollar field action in the country last week, including local organizers.
“I think we’ve come up with safe ways for a personal campaign,” Ellen Foster, Osof’s campaign manager, told a news briefing on November 6. “Every tactic is on the table and we will implement what we consider safe in the coming weeks. “
In the November election, both Perdue and Loeffler benefited from President Donald Trump’s joint election operation, when thousands of employees and volunteers were deployed across the country to reach low-ranking voters. During the election, Trump’s campaign maintained that knocking on doors was not a social distance, and officials were asked to wear face masks.
Biden’s campaign, on the other hand, has largely deviated from personal contact with voters due to health issues. Instead, they relied on supporters to send messages or call people on their networks to vote. Many Democrats cast in the election followed Biden’s campaign lead.
Decades of political science research suggest that one of the most effective ways to choose voters is through high-quality face-to-face conversations that encourage people to go to the polls. Republicans largely had a monopoly on these personal conversations.
Even some National Democrats have warned that completely abandoning door-to-door campaigning could hurt democratic efforts.
Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortes, DN.Y., wrote on Twitter shortly after the election that “the decision to stop knocking on doors is a man that people have to fight and analyze,” citing some races in which Democrats have raised top of the ticket and keep knocking on doors and winning.
But even now, few Democrats are willing to offer specific details or commitments to expand their personal contact with voters, especially as their plans are complicated by the deteriorating coronavirus pandemic.
Georgia reached its highest number of one-day cases of new Covid-19s in more than three months on Tuesday, with many fearing they will continue to climb after Thanksgiving. Early voting begins shortly after the holiday, on December 14.
“Right now, these talks are small. They haven’t been too big yet,” said Bianca Keaton, chairwoman of the Democrats in Gwyneth County, talking about plans to reach voters face to face.
Keaton said she hoped that with the right safeguards and personal protective equipment, she would be able to launch a “strong personal investigation operation” in her county.
“My hope and prayer is that people will continue to make such a commitment in a safe way. Coronavirus treatment in many ways and many other things that have made Americans sick are in the January elections,” she added.
“The stakes are extremely high and personal research is a necessary part of that.”