Wis Democrats and Republicans talk campaign strategies in 2020 election

One party says there is a better way to campaign amid a pandemic.
Published: Sep. 29, 2020 at 10:09 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Wisconsin Democrats and Republicans are boasting different campaign strategies as their presidential picks rely on boots on the ground.

Tuesday afternoon, as Donald Trump and Joe Biden prepared for their first face-off in a debate, the Republican Party of Wisconsin trained its newest volunteers in Reedsburg, at the Trump Victory Leadership Initiative.

Andrew Hitt, the chair of the party, referred to Democrats, saying, “They’re up in the clouds, doing virtual, while we’re on the ground, knocking on doors, making phone calls, having events in order to get people trained up, excited and talk about the accomplishments of this president.”

According to Hitt, the Republican campaign revived its in-person efforts after spending 3 months online. “We’ve got to be cognizant of COVID-19,” he said, “not only because of people’s views, but obviously we want to stay safe.”

Meanwhile, the Democratic Party of Wisconsin vows not to get closer than 6 feet of any voter.

Pointing to the drive-in setup for a debate watch party at the Alliant Energy Center, party chair Ben Wikler said, “What you see here illustrates the fundamental difference between Joe Biden and Kamala Harris’s campaign, where they take the coronavirus pandemic seriously and want to protect Wisconsinites, and the Trump campaign.”

Wikler said his party focuses on phone calls, text messages and distributing yard signs.

“There’s nothing less real about the connection you can have with somebody over the phone,” he said. “Frankly, I think for a lot of the voters we’re talking to, when they tell us how scared they are about this virus, they would be mad if we were knocking on their door and getting right up close to them with no advanced warning.”

Polling numbers released earlier this week by NBC News/Marist show the former vice president with a 10-point lead in Wisconsin.

Calling the poll “flawed” when it comes to voter breakdown, the Trump campaign’s director of press communications Erin Perrine was asked by NBC15 whether the president cares about polls.

“The president cares about the American people,” Perrine replied. “The president cares to be able to fight to serve for 4 more years as president of the United States. He knows that polls that are flawed are doing so to try and suppress enthusiasm for President Trump.”

Reflecting on Trump’s 2016 win in Wisconsin, Wikler said that thousands of volunteers have committed to Biden’s 2020 run.

“This time around no one is taking anything for granted,” he said. “If you vote for Joe Biden instead of Trump, you need to fight like you’re two points behind, even if the polls say you’re ten points ahead.”

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