Decision 2020

Candidates Rely on Social Media Ahead of Election During Pandemic

NBC Universal, Inc.

With less than a month before Election Day, candidates who might not be widely known are desperately trying to get their names out.

Many candidates said they are having to campaign in a much different way during the pandemic. Gone are the days they could rely on meeting a voter in person.

Chrystine Villarreal, a San Jose school board candidate, has been working the phones whenever she can and trying to garner as much support as possible.

Villarreal now personalizes her letters to voters and she hops on social media to get her name and message out since the pandemic prevents her from meeting face-to-face with too many voters.

"The trends that we're seeing during the pandemic are folks are online more," she said. "So they also engage in social media more."

Rishi Kumar in the upcoming election is trying to unseat a political stalwart, Congresswoman Anna Eshoo, who has name recognition in the Bay Area.

"You know we always make lemonade out of lemons, and that's what we're doing in the COVID-19 world," Kumar said.

During the pandemic, Kumar's campaign also turned to social media, primarily TikTok.

"It's an engagement platform for the young generation," he said. "It's a fun tool. We don't have a very long attention span, so it's a 15-second video."

The traditional lawn signs are still out and voters are still getting campaing leaflets at their doorstep, but TikTok and other social media platforms are helping fill the political void caused by the pandemic.

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