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Will Michigan Democrats Really Turn Out After a Virtual Campaign?

This is the second in a series of stories on Rep. Elissa Slotkin’s re-election campaign in Michigan’s 8th District. Read the first installment here.

LANSING, Mich.—It’s difficult enough to engage in conversation through a pair of face masks, standing 6 feet apart inside a cramped, cacophonous storefront, humming vents and scraping metal intruding at every syllable. Add in the overwhelming aroma of salt and melted butter, and keeping one’s focus is all but impossible. But Rep. Elissa Slotkin is dialed in—not just as a courtesy to Chad Jordan, the owner of Cravings Gourmet Popcorn, but because the lessons of the popcorn industry are suddenly and surprisingly relevant to the demands of the political industry.

“We’re doing things today that we never would have thought to do, had Covid not happened,” explains Jordan, a tall man in his late 40s who wears yellow-and-pink streaked sneakers and clear-rimmed glasses. “Am I happy this happened? No. But you can’t sit around and be negative about what’s not working. You’ve got to get off your butt and think outside the box.”

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Jordan reinvented the operating model behind his niche business, a staple of the capital’s Old Town district, by acting boldly during the early days of the pandemic. Rather than sit on cash, he made massive investments in targeted marketing, online delivery and a far-reaching social media campaign. Slotkin seems genuinely dazzled: Cravings is the only small business she’s visited in Michigan’s 8th Congressional District, she gushes, that seems to be doing as well now, perhaps even better, than it was pre-coronavirus. “That’s what I’m trying to figure out, how to innovate,” she tells Jordan. “It’s really hard.”

Source: Politics, Policy, Political News Top Stories

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