Biden Campaign Will Begin Canvassing In Person, A Major Reversal Amid COVID-19 Pandemic
Democratic nominee Joe Biden dramatically changed course Thursday, enlisting hundreds of volunteers to go door to door in swing states, a month ahead of the election. The campaign had previously avoided door to door campaigning due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Volunteers will begin knocking on doors in Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania this weekend, followed by the rest of the battleground states early next week, the campaign said.
Democrats had previously denounced in-person canvassing, claiming President Donald Trump‘s volunteers were putting lives at risk.
Lily Adams, a DNC spokesperson, said in August that “the Trump campaign is risking the lives of their staff, the lives of voters, and risking becoming a super spreader organization during the middle of a pandemic.”
After the Biden campaign announced their decision to canvass in-person, Republican National Committee spokesperson Michael Ahrens called the campaign out on its seeming hypocrisy.
“We have been safely knocking doors for months, and Democrats sanctimoniously called us ‘super spreaders’ for it,” said Ahrens. “They are getting trounced on the ground and they know it, but you cannot build an effective ground game in a matter of weeks.”
The RNC claimed that it and the Trump campaign are knocking on 2 million doors a week, hitting approximately 19 million doors since resuming in-person canvassing mid-June.
In key swing state Pennsylvania, the Trump campaign said it has knocked on 1.5 million doors while the Biden has campaign has yet to knock on any. While polls still show Biden leading, Politico reported that internal polls from progressive groups show the race narrowing.
The Biden campaign emphasized the need for precautions when campaigning in-person, noting that it will provide free personal protective equipment, temperature checks, and training sessions.
“We’re now expanding on our strategy in a targeted way that puts the safety of communities first and foremost and helps us mobilize voters who are harder to reach by phone now that we’re in the final stretch and now that Americans are fully dialed-in and ready to make their voices heard,” Biden campaign manager Jen O’Malley Dillon said in a statement.