Breaking the ice: After long silence in Elk Grove District 3 race one candidate starts communication; will others follow?

The shelter-in-place health orders during the COVID that California and Elk Grove have been under for the last several weeks have affected every aspect of life, including election-year politics. The competitive race for the upcoming District 3 vacancy on the Elk Grove City Council is perhaps the most affected race for Elk Grove. 

Before the March shut down, all four candidates for the seat had started holding campaign fundraising events. Since then, public campaign activity from the four current candidates - Maureen Craft, Amandeep Singh, Kevin Spease, and Lynn Wheat has disappeared.

During February, each of the four candidates held fundraising campaign events in Elk Grove. Since that time, campaign events and communications have mostly stopped.  

Today though, Spease sent an email announcing, to no surprise, that a campaign event previously scheduled for May 6 was canceled. Spease did take the opportunity in his email to plug his campaign and seek contributions.

Moving forward, just how will the candidates in this highly competitive race, which will be on a by-district basis for the first time in Elk Grove history, conduct their campaigns? It appeared that each candidate was going to include a door-to-door campaign as an integral part of their strategy.

By-district races offered candidates with less cash an opportunity to mound a battle based on door to door basis. A prime example of this was the campaign waged earlier this yeat by Sacramento City Councilmember-elect Katie Valenzuela.

Though not as well funded as the incumbent and current Sacramento District 4 City Councilmember Steve Hanson, Valenzuela waged a door-to-door campaign, fueled by many volunteers, and scored the upset.

Now, with medical information suggesting the pandemic could resurface this fall as the November election approaches, it might be inappropriate for candidates to wage a door to door campaign. What might be the implications?

For one, it could mean big outside money from real estate interests could still play an outsized role. We suspect if big real estate money gets involved,  it will not be strictly confined to mailers and lawn signs.

With people sheltering-in-place, often in front of their TV, geographically-targeted ads on cable provider Comcast could increase during this cycle. And of course, there will be a saturation of campaign messaging on social media platforms, and through Google ads. 

Even though money will play an outsized role in this first of its kind election in Elk Grove compared to what it would have had the pandemic not occurred, that alone will not determine the winner. We believe the candidate who develops a creative workaround to get their message out in some way not yet considered during these unchartered times will benefit and stands an excellent chance to win this race. 

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D.J. Blutarsky said...

Maybe EGN could host a candidate debate on Zoom? I can't remember the last time a true debate, not to be confused with those softball forums that are held every election, could be arranged.

Meaningless fluff backed by glossy flyers and candidate selfie sticks have been the standard M.O. in Elk Grove politics for too long. Maybe it's time to finally separate the wheat from the chaff. No pun intended!

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