The political candidates for the primary election are trying to deliver personal messages as coronavirus limits traditional campaigning.
In-person, traditional voting for the March 17 primary was canceled by the Ohio health director on the eve of the election. The primary was extended until April 28 with absentee voting.
Nick Rubando and M. Xavier Carrigan, candidates for the Democratic party nomination for Ohio’s 5th Congressional District, were in favor of the primary shutdown.
Carrigan held his first digital town hall two weeks ago and will be doing two more leading up to April 28.
“No matter what happens with this election, the entire thing is a learning process. Win or lose, it’s all tools that I will be able to use in the future,” he said.
In his day job as truck driver, Carrigan is spending a lot more time on the road. He is now considered an essential worker. He said needs for supplies have increased as people are staying at home through shutdowns and lost jobs.
He is hoping that people will recognize some of the issues, such as Medicare for all and student loan forgiveness, that he had been pushing will be recognized in light of COVID-19.
Rubando has done video tutorials on how to fill out the application for a ballot as well as for the actual ballot.
“One of the most important things we’re trying to do is just to keep voters informed, engaged and comfortable with the process, so they know their voice is heard,” he said. “Our campaign has really been trying to educate and inform all of our constituents on how we can all actually vote.”
He is concerned that potential voters might be uncomfortable with the new process may skip voting altogether.
“It’s been tough for us to campaign. We had been knocking on doors and doing town halls. That was one of our great strengths,” Rubando said.
He is also concerned about the impact of the modified primary on the general election.
“The only thing you can’t make up is time. The more time we invest in the primary, is time we’re not spending differentiating ourselves from Bob Latta,” Rubando said.
Reem Subei and Joel O’Dorisio are running in the Democratic Party Primary for Ohio State Senate District 2.
“It is unprecedented times. Yes, we care first and foremost for the safety and well being all Ohioans, the poll workers and voters and everyone,” Subei said. “It’s also an opportunity for us to take a closer look at our election system in Ohio and hopefully make it friendlier for everyone in Ohio. Every Ohioan’s vote matters.”
COVID-19 altered some campaign topics, but not her underlying message, Subei said. She laid out a “people-centered” agenda that included advocating for a halt to evictions, among other protective policies.
During Subei’s semi-weekly Facebook Live evening conversations she brings in guest speakers and talks to district residents about issues.
An educational video on unemployment compensation has been their most popular effort to date. They have also expanded the educational efforts to Zoom conferencing, recently talking about how and why to wear masks.
O’Dorisio’s campaign is doing a series of 30-second YouTube statements a couple times a week to stay in contact with people following the campaign, writing opinion piece articles and letters to the editor, but he also said they are not holding video town halls.
“We would do mailings, but we had planned for a primary that would end on the 17th. I think fundraising is challenging right now. We’ve had some donations but people are pulling back,” O’Dorisio said. “There are larger needs. People need to pay rent and have money for food to eat. We are trying to run a respectful campaign, but were doing it on as slim a budget as we can.”