COVID-19 Impacting Campaigns

COVID-19 Impacting Campaigns

( – The coronavirus epidemic is starting to turn the screws on the presidential election campaign. The two leading Democrat candidates both canceled planned rallies Tuesday night. Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders had both planned to address crowds in Ohio, but both made decisions within minutes of each other to stand down the events, citing public health concerns.


With six states holding primaries next Tuesday, Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-.VT) and former vice president Joe Biden were looking ahead at planned rallies in Ohio. Now their carefully developed campaign strategies have taken serious dents, as coronavirus fears forced them to scrap the events.

  • Ohio is a key swing state and holds its primary next Tuesday. Both candidates are keen to make an impression on the state’s voters – Biden to consolidate his growing lead, and Sanders to keep his campaign hopes alive.
  • To grow momentum among Ohio Democrats, Biden and Sanders had planned to hold campaign rallies in the state Tuesday night, giving their local teams a week to build on the enthusiasm they hoped to generate.
  • However, on Tuesday afternoon the Sanders campaign announced that “Out of concern for public health and safety, we are canceling tonight’s rally in Cleveland.” A spokesman confirmed that this followed warnings from state authorities, who were worried that a large crowd at an indoor venue risked spreading the disease.
  • Just minutes later Biden’s team followed suit, saying they were canceling their own Cleveland rally “out of an abundance of caution.” Again, according to campaign official Kate Bedingfield, state public health officials had warned against going ahead with the event. Biden went on to hold a smaller event in Philadelphia.
  • The virus isn’t just affecting rallies; it’s becoming a campaign issue in its own right. Before his rally was canceled Sanders told reporters he was taking the issue “very, very seriously,” segueing into an attack on President Trump, who is trying to maintain calm and avoid provoking panic.
  • Meanwhile, following confirmation that an attendee at a conservative rally in late February was infected with coronavirus, several Republican legislators have self-isolated themselves as a precaution. The worry is that both President Trump and Vice-President Pence attended that rally, but so far there’s no sign either of them has been exposed to the virus.

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