BINGHAMTON, NY – The pandemic has thrown a monkey wrench into how political campaigns are run as several local candidates prepare for a primary election next month.
One such race is the contest for the Republican nomination for Broome County Family Court Judge.
The candidates are former District Attorney Steve Cornwell and Town of Union Judge Veronica Gorman.
Cornwell says physical distancing has interfered with some of his favorite aspects of campaigning, knocking on doors, shaking hands and meeting and speaking with people at community events.
He says his campaign is looking to connect with voters through TV ads, social media, phone calls and mailers.
Cornwell says it’s hard to be political when people are concerned for their health, safety and finances.
“You’re not going to fundraise when people can’t come to an event. Some people are struggling financially. It’s really not appropriate, I think, to be doing some of those things aggressively because people are hurting, people are struggling, haven’t worked in 2 months,” says Cornwell.
Gorman says her campaign has seized upon the challenge by getting creative through both new and traditional ways.
She’s been very active on social media and is contemplating a digital town hall with voters.
Gorman also spends about 2 hours a day on the phone.
She says the pandemic has forced her team to work harder and smarter.
“I really embrace the novelty of the situation. How we can make this work and how we can get our message out there and how we can keep going. We’re doing a great job, I think, and we’re just going to keep doing what we’re doing,” says Gorman.
Cornwell says he put his campaign on hold at the start of the pandemic out of respect for people’s struggles.
Both say that encouraging people to mail in absentee ballots will be a big part of their strategy given that everyone can use absentees for the primary election by selecting the “Temporary Illness” option.
The primary takes place Tuesday June 23rd.
For information on requesting an absentee or to find your consolidated polling place, go to BroomeVotes.com.