The COVID-19 pandemic caused major disruptions to political campaigns during the 2020 election. There was a stark contrast between how the two major parties approached campaigning during COVID-19, including the election in Texas, a deep red state that some thought might present opportunities for Democratic Party candidates. Using interviews with 13 campaign operatives, this study examines how Republican candidates in Texas navigated their campaigns in the context of a pandemic. Our results suggest the unique context of campaigning during COVID-19 gave Republicans key advantages over Democrats. Decisions to embrace a more organic, bottom-up approach led to more flexible campaign strategies. Democratic Party candidates followed the lead of Joe Biden’s presidential campaign and mostly refrained from direct voter contact, like door knocking. Through experimentation, many Republican campaigns felt comfortable embracing a ground game and deployed complete field operations. Consultants argued this played an important role in helping Texas Republicans exceed expectations.
Hunter, Jeff; Wintemute, Mike; and McLaughlin, Bryan
"Campaigning During COVID-19: How Texas Republicans Navigated the 2020 Election,"
Journal of Political Science: Vol. 50:
1, Article 3.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.coastal.edu/jops/vol50/iss1/3