The 2020 election cycle has proven to be one of historic obstacles as the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has created a host of challenges for political officials and candidates statewide, specifically the Delaware Republican Party who has been forced to adjust to the shutdown at a time where fundraising efforts would have been in full swing and candidates would have otherwise been campaigning publicly, gaining meaningful experience.
Delaware Republican Party Chairwoman Jane Brady joined WGMD’s Mike Bradley LIVE on Monday morning where she weighed in on the challenges the party and its candidates are currently facing and how they’re adjusting to maintain their message in what has been an unusually difficult primary season as a result of the pandemic.
“To a great extend, it has affected the Republicans more than the Democrats because we have more challengers, not in Sussex County, but statewide we hold fewer offices in the other counties, and incumbency has its advantages,” Brady explained. “We’re looking to capitalize on that for our imcumbents, but it has affected our ability to a lot of the early reaching out.”
Now would be a time where a candidate would use local events to gain meaningful experience in developing their message, speaking, and interacting with the public, but because of the coronavirus shutdown they’re deprived of that opportunity.
“Festivals and things that are normally held right now, most have been canceled,” Brady emphasized. “Events that normally would provide an opportunity for candidates to walk around, meet people, and get out in the community at events, have a booth at the fair, different fairs in the little towns, those events, early events are important.”
As election days looms closer over the course of a season, eyes are gradually glued closer to the candidates and their messages, which is why public outreach is crucial for those running, especially first-time candidates, who rely on that gainful experience to connect with voters and potentially win an election.
“Early events are important because they help a candidate develop their message, get experience in speaking, become better at what they’re doing, and then when it’s time and more people are focused on the election they’ve been better trained on how to respond to questions and how to handle the public,” Brady explained. “And because some of our candidates are first time candidates they aren’t going to have that opportunity.”
Brady wanted to emphasize though that this has not “knocked us out of the game at all.” She and other party officials have been working overtime teleconferencing with candidates individually to develop plans on how best to navigate through this and have a successful campaign.
On the other hand, the greatest issue the GOP is facing is critical fundraising that they rely on during this time for outreach and other methods to connect with voters.
“People don’t have money right now,” Brady explained. “People are out of work, cut back on their hours, and uncertain about what the future is going to hold and when this is going to return to normalcy, and financial security for their family is their first concern. We’ve had to be very imaginative, and we’ve come up with some really cool things that you’ll be seeing with how we can reach out without a lot of money.”