Key Iowa supporters of Hillary Clinton’s almost-certain 2016 presidential bid say the Clinton campaign will help rebuild the Iowa Democratic Party after its losses in 2014. Democrats lost the U.S. Senate race and all but one of the four congressional races in Iowa last year.
“We thought we had more voters identified and out to vote and we actually didn’t, so something went very wrong with our program,” said Bonnie Campbell, an advisor to Hillary Clinton who served as chair of the Iowa Democratic Party in 1988.
“In 1988 we identified and registered 100,000 new Democrats…and this state went for Michael Dukakis by 10 points — better than his own state, so it can be done, but it is going to require a massive effort on the part of the Clinton campaign if that’s how life shakes out.”
Jerry Crawford served as Bill Clinton’s state director for the 1992 and 1996 General Elections. He was Hillary Clinton’s Midwest co-chair in 2008 as well and Crawford said Clinton is assembling a campaign team that will do important groundwork in Iowa.
“The Iowa Democratic Party, our ticket in this state, desperately needs the General Election assets that Hillary Clinton will bring as our party’s standard-bearer,” Crawford said.”That’s the way we recover from what was a very, very tough 2014 election.”
Jessica Vanden Berg, the manager of Christie Vilsack’s 2010 congressional campaign, has not signed on with a 2016 presidential campaign, although she helped former Virginia Governor Jim Webb with event scheduling in Iowa this past summer. According to Vanden Berg, the sooner Clinton’s 2016 campaign here starts, the better.
“I think Obama found out in 2012 when there were two years of Republicans running against him that he actually had to run a real General Election campaign and spend some real resources here,” Vanden Berg said. “So that may be an issue as well for us if Hillary isn’t contested.”
Vanden Berg said rank-and-file Iowa Democrats are not only frustrated about the outcome of the 2014 elections here, but they’re frustrated to see a fully engaged presidential race on the Republican side with little activity on the Democratic side. Vanden Berg, Crawford and Campbell made their comments this morning during taping of the “Iowa Press” program that airs tonight at 7:30 on the Iowa Public Television.