The Urbandale 4th of July parade in 2019.

The Fourth of July weekend is usually a time for candidates running for office to make appearances at parades and picnics.

Most parades have been canceled out of concerns about the coronavirus pandemic. University of Northern Iowa political scientist, Chris Larimer, says these kinds of Independence Day campaign appearances are usually a good chance for candidates to make a good impression on voters in-person. But the pandemic has shifted the focus for campaigns.

“Not having those interactions certainly changes things for the campaigns. It forces them to continue to try to think creatively. Ok, how can we get in front of voters? How do we establish a comfort level with voters?,” Larimar says, “but I think right now voters are thinking about other things.”

Republican U.S. Senator Joni Ernst’s bid for re-election is the most high-profile statewide race this year. Polls have shown her in a tight competition with her Democratic challenger, real estate executive Theresa Greenfield. She doesn’t have any public campaign events tomorrow (Saturday).

Senator Ernst will appear at a motorcycle rally in Algona and a boat parade in Clear Lake.

(By Clay Masters, Iowa Public Radio)