The Republican National Committee expects Iowa to again be a “battleground” state in this fall’s presidential election.
“In Iowa, our ground operation is going to be three-to-five times bigger than it was in 2012,” RNC chairman Reince Priebus told Radio Iowa during an interview late this afternoon
He plans to position more than 100 paid field staffers to Iowa to turn-out Republican voters here.
“One of the things that’s different from this year as opposed to four years ago is that we’ve got a national party now that has its act together when it comes to the ground game and the data operation that I think people were disappointed in, in 2012,” Priebus said.
Mitt Romney lost to Barack Obama in Iowa by six points. The Republican National Committee has a six-figure budget for its General Election effort in Iowa and some of the RNC field staff who worked on the Joni Ernst Senate campaign in 2014 are already here, planning for November of 2016.
“It is going to be massive and we’re going to have better tools, better data,” Priebus said. “And you saw some of the evidence of that in the Joni Ernst campaign when we worked on, the RNC, the absentee ballot program and did as well as we’ve ever done in the history of the early vote and absentee ballot and in Iowa.”
The Republican National Committee has divided Iowa into 50 different zones or “turfs” and a full-time RNC staffer is being assigned to each zone. Party officials say they’ve identified up to 10,000 voters in each zone. These voters are Republicans who don’t always vote or voters who “swing” between voting for Republicans and Democrats. Republicans admit they studied the “Obama for America” playbook in Iowa and retooled their effort for 2016.
Priebus spoke with Radio Iowa a few hours before the FOX News debate featuring all but one of the party’s leading presidential candidates. Priebus said he wasn’t “thinking a whole lot” about Donald Trump’s decision to skip the debate.
“I think candidates make the decisions they want to make for their own campaign strategy and I think that’s what you’re seeing,” Priebus said.
Listen to more of that conversation here.