Staffers for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton today claimed it is newcomers, not party regulars, who hold the key to Clinton’s success in the Iowa Caucuses. “A majority of our identified supporters would be first-time Caucus-goers,” says Dave Barnhart, the Clinton campaign’s caucus director.
According to Barnhart, it is a challenge to get those folks to the Caucuses. “Our campaign in the last two weeks has begun meeting one-on-one with supporters who’ve never been to the Caucus before,” Barnhart says. “And before January 3, we’re planning to meet all our new Caucus-goers and help demystify the Caucus process, answer individual questions and turn them out for Senator Clinton.”
Mark Daley, an Iowa-based spokesman for the Clinton campaign, says Clinton’s Iowa staff has grown “significantly” in order to fan out across the state and hold these educational sessions with potential Caucus-goers. “What we’re trying to do is make sure that those folks that are excited about our candidacy who have never participated in the Caucuses and really, frankly, don’t really understand the Caucus process, have a better understanding of it and are more excited and more likely to participate in the Caucus,” Daley says.
The Clinton campaign has developed a DVD to show in small-group settings and in those one-on-one meetings. Daley says he doesn’t want to show the campaign’s “cards” to their rivals, but Daley says it’s no surprise that a majority of Clinton’s backers have never been to a Caucus before.
“In 2004, I believe the exit polls were saying that 50 percent or 45 percent of Caucus-goers were first time attendees,” Daley says. “I think that we’re seeing an awful lot of likely first time attendees who are going to show up on January 3 as well. Our goal, of course, is to make sure they actually do and they’re there for our candidate.”
The Clinton campaign has rented the Varsity Theater in Des Moines and plans to show the video about the Caucus process to a few hundred supporters Thursday night.