WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — As the campaign season ramps up heading into November, lawmakers from the president down to each member of Congress must figure out how to reach their voters virtually.
The coronavirus has taken the 2020 presidential campaign off the road and online.
“It’s been a huge shift. We can’t hold rallies or in-person training,” said Republican Party Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel.
McDaniel says in a presidential election year, enthusiasm starts at the top of the ticket.
“He’s the best messenger,” she said.
But President Trump has had to trade packed arenas for the White House briefing room.
“If the president weren’t on TV right now, the American people would see wall to wall agenda media pushing back on him,” McDaniel said.
But there’s more to the 2020 campaign.
The Senate is in play for both parties, and control of the House may come down to a few California districts.
“Putting Kevin McCarthy in as speaker instead of Nancy Pelosi. That’s going to run right through Orange County,” McDaniels explains.
She’s talking about Democrat Harley Rouda’s Orange County race, which is looking competitive.
Rep. Rouda says Congress’ response to the coronavirus will have a major impact.
“We’re going to be evaluated on how we reacted,” he said.
Rep. Rouda says his campaign staff is checking in virtually on the elderly in his district.
Rep. Cheri Bustos, the Chairwoman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, says members of her caucus are taking similar steps nationwide.
“Politics is all about relationship building anyway, but this is all much more about checking in with people,” Rep. Bustos said.
She says the only campaign strategy that makes sense is to focus on the coronavirus and its impact on constituents.