Tune in, online, to the politicians as live town halls are replaced by live streaming

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Haven’t seen your representative or political candidates in awhile? That will continue as politicians now have a good reason to stay away: COVID-19. Short of a complete national lockdown like they have in Italy to contain the spread of coronavirus — where we may be headed in this country — the word now is stay home as much as possible. And social distancing when you go out is a must.

Democrat Nate McMurray, candidate for the 27th Congressional District, began this week hosting digital Town Halls. Other politicians as well ramped up online efforts to reach voters. McMurray’s Repulican opponent, state Sen. Chris Jacobs, is using his campaign Facebook page to post videos talking to voters, as are other candidates that will appear on the ballot in the district for the April 28 special election.

Four candidates will be on the ballot to fill the vacancy for the district: McMurray on the Democratic and Working Families lines; Jacobs on the Republican and Independence lines; Green Party candidate Michael J. Gammariello; and Libertarian Party candidate Duane Whitmer.

The 27th covers the western part of Ontario County including Victor, Farmington and the town and city of Canandaigua, along with a number of rural communities.

In the 23rd Congressional District, Democratic candidate Tracy Mitrano is doing live-stream town halls from her campaign Facebook page. She is challenging Rep. Tom Reed, R-Corning for the seat in the district that includes the remaining portion of Ontario County, which includes Geneva and rural towns to the east and south. Reed has also ramped up live-streaming that is going out to voters.

On Thursday, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Ontario County rose to three. The first case was travel-acquired, the second and third were community-acquired.

One of the positive cases is a student at Canandaigua Middle School. Ontario County Public Health reported Thursday that the student is recovering and feeling better. The teen and family and under quarantine and being monitored by Public Health. Ontario County Public Health is in the process of completing contact investigations of both community-acquired cases.

“This is a difficult time for our nation; the already struggling families of this district will be hit hard by this pandemic and need access to their leaders and candidates now more than ever,” stated McMurray. “The focus of our campaign has always been to lift up the good people of this region; while the coronavirus will inarguably impact the way we interact with them, it’s critical that we maintain open lines of communication and support for one another. My team is committed to utilizing alternative forms of engagement in order to address concerns, discuss the issues that matter most to NY-27 residents, and connect people with the resources they need throughout this crisis.”

Mitrano stated on her campaign Facebook page that she has replaced town halls and house parties with virtual gatherings and her staff is all working remotely. She plans to announce new ways to engage with her campaign in the coming days.