A big part of working on a political campaign is the person-to-person contact — knocking on doors, shaking hands, town hall meetings, fundraisers. For Carter Elliott ’19, political director for 5th Congressional District candidate R.D. Huffstetler’s campaign, COVID-19 has changed almost everything about that.
“All of our public events have been canceled, which has significantly changed our daily routine,” Elliott, who has bachelor’s degrees in political science and history, said. “What used to be door knocks and coffees are now phone calls and virtual town halls.
“Our strategy has done a 180. Typically, we’d be trying to meet as many people on the doors or in public as possible, but now with that not being possible, we’re forced to think outside of the box by reaching voters through paid media, social media, and virtual events.”
A self-described “outspoken extrovert,” Elliott said it’s been challenging. “My daily life has changed drastically,” he said. “I get a lot of energy and happiness out of talking to other people, and with this limited social interaction, days have been very long and boring.
“I hate spending time alone. I always prefer to be with friends and this has put a significant damper on that part of my life.”
Despite the hardships, Elliott says he will persevere through Election Day on November 3. “I frequently say, ‘If you always work like you’re behind, then you’ll always be ahead,’ so we just have to keep pushing forward,” he said.
“I joined this campaign because I wanted to make the lives of the people around me better, and that hasn’t changed. People around us still need quality health care, job security, and better education. With many of these issues coming to light during this crisis, the stakes have gotten even higher.”