Five top staffers from Hillary Clinton’s Iowa campaign will fan out across the state this week, stopping in more than 50 counties to talk with Democrats.
“Leaders, elected officials, committed Democrats and perhaps emerging and young, non-traditional Democratic caucus attendees,” Matt Paul, state director for Hillary for America, says, “to just hear their concerns, their thoughts for the future, what they’re looking for in this campaign.”
Paul, along with Clinton’s deputy director in Iowa and the campaign’s caucus director, political director and constituency director will all be hosting these events. Clinton’s 2008 Iowa campaign faltered, in part, because her campaign was out-hustled by the Obama campaign’s precinct-level organizing. The move this week from her top Iowa staff is a signal Clinton’s 2016 effort has started to identify precinct captains and others who are motivated to help turn-out Clinton supporters on Caucus Night.
“We want to work to identify folks who may want to be involved at varying levels of the campaign,” Paul says. “The first and the best way to do that is to listen to them.”
Paul was involved in Tom Vilsack’s statewide campaigns for governor in 1998 and 2002. In 2004 he was deputy director of Howard Dean’s Iowa Caucus campaign. Since joining the Clinton campaign this spring, Paul has hired six regional directors, all of whom have worked on statewide campaigns.
“We have a couple of dozen organizers already out and about in the state, meeting with folks one-on-one in all parts of Iowa, large and small, so it’s to build on those relationships,” says Paul, who managed Tom Harkin’s 2008 re-election campaign. “The caucuses are about relationships. It’s our job to engage with Iowans, to listen with Iowans and to invite them to be part of this campaign.”
The candidate herself has been to Iowa just once this year, for a two-day trip in mid-April, a couple of days after she formally entered the 2016.
Bernie Sanders, the Vermont Senator who has announced he will challenge Clinton in the Democratic Primary, has spent 11 days in the state this campaign cycle, with almost two dozen public events. Former Virginia Senator Jim Webb, who is considering a run for the Democratic Party’s 2016 presidential nomination, has been to Iowa twice in the past two weeks. Former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, another likely Democratic candidate, has spent the most personal time in the state over the past two years, appearing at 24 different campaign-style events and fundraisers. O’Malley also paid for over a dozen staffers to work on 2014 campaigns in Iowa.