Personal campaign was one of the topics of a private call last week in Pennsylvania between Biden campaign officials and state party leaders. As a sign of the party’s growing concern over the issue, Democrats in the critical battlefield state left the call with wildly different interpretations of the conversation.
Some top-official party officials told POLITICO after the call that the Biden team was discussing the possibility of returning to door knocking, even though it had not made any final decisions. But Biden aides insisted they were not considering it and that there must have been a misunderstanding: They said they were only talking about plans to start falling from door to door literature ̵
“If you asked anyone from the record from the Biden campaign, I think they would be like ‘Yes, we want to be on doors.’ The reality is that we still have a pandemic, “said Jason Henry, executive director of the Pennsylvania Democratic Party, afterwards. “These conversations are still going on because we want to make sure we do this safely.”
Some Pennsylvania Democrats are not waiting for Biden’s imprimatur and have taken matters into their own hands. The Democratic Party of Erie County, Pa. – a key area that Trump won in 2016 after former President Barack Obama wore it four years earlier – said it has engaged in what it calls “soft talk” with voters while handing out literature and materials at their homes .
“People want to come out and talk to us, and I want it to be a more fruitful conversation,” said Jim Wertz, president of the Erie County Democrats. “They come out and talk to us about Joe Biden and how I get signs.”
Maine Democratic Party field staff are also conducting limited door knocking with public health precautions in place, including masks, gloves, hand cleaning and keeping more than 6 feet away from the doors after the knock, said a spokesman for Gideon’s campaign, which traditionally coordinates its state program through the state party. The Montana Democratic Party is also running a door-to-door campaign.
Julie Slomski, a state senate candidate seeking to flip a red seat in Pennsylvania, said she wears a mask, uses hand sanitizer, rings the doorbells with her bones and stays 12 steps away while knocking. She said she always asks voters if they feel good about her being there when she greets them.
“I have not had anyone say no yet,” she said. I start with, ‘How have you been during the pandemic? Is there anything we can do to help connect some dots? ‘Some people say they may need some masks and I buy them masks. ”
Ryan Bizzarro, a state representative running for re-election in an Erie County, Pa., District, which Trump won in 2016, said his campaign resumed the doorstep with more security measures more than a month ago.
“I think it’s important to run a virtual campaign,” he said. “But … on November 3, I do not want one, ‘What if? What if I would have been on earth? What if?’ I do not want that. ”
In the swing state of Wisconsin, Lee Snodgrass – one of the state party’s vice presidents who also drives to the state assembly – has also knocked on doors himself. “Election contact is how you get votes,” she told her local NPR subsidiary.