The Clinton Campaign Prepares for a Long Primary
Clinton supporters in Iowa. Credit: Sam Hodgson for The New York Times (source)
by Gaius Publius
I thought the following was interesting, in that it contained information I wasn't aware of. I too had heard that the Clinton campaign "had at least one paid staff member in all 50 states" and assumed that meant they had staffed up much more fully than the Sanders campaign, especially given their greater resources and greater experience at national campaigning.
As it turns out, my assumption wasn't true. According to a piece in the New York Times by Amy Chozick, the Clinton campaign is much more narrowly concentrated geographically, with most staff in either Iowa or the campaign headquarters. Does this mean they counted on an early victory, where a sweep or near sweep of the first few states would allow them to campaign much more lightly against a staggering Sanders campaign? If so, that may have been a valid assumption some time ago. It doesn't seem a valid assumption now.
In a piece whose main point is that the Clinton camp is prepared for a "long slog" and a battle that could "stretch into late April or early May," Amy Chozick writes this (my emphasis):
Even though the Clinton team has sought to convey that it has built a national operation, the campaign has invested much of its resources in the Feb. 1 caucuses in Iowa, hoping that a victory there could marginalize Mr. Sanders and set Mrs. Clinton on the path to the nomination. As much as 90 percent of the campaign’s resources are now split between Iowa and the Brooklyn headquarters, according to an estimate provided by a person with direct knowledge of the spending. The campaign denied that figure.The last two sentences are important, especially the parts I highlighted. Unless this is a double-feint by the campaign, not unknown but somewhat rare, this is an actual leak that the campaign would rather not get out. Contrast this with the leaks in Patrick Healy's recent NYT piece, in which insiders seem, to my ears, to be speaking for the campaign to bolster it. There is no way the information above bolsters the campaign.
So this is likely true, at least according to the unnamed source: "As much as 90 percent of the campaign’s resources are now split between Iowa and the Brooklyn headquarters". There's certainly no judgment on my part; all campaigns use resources as they think best, and those decisions do or don't pan out well. But this is worth keeping in mind as the primary season plays out; it could keep the race closer than it might otherwise have been.
More from Chozick:
The campaign boasted last June, when Mrs. Clinton held her kickoff event on Roosevelt Island in New York, that it had at least one paid staff member in all 50 states. But the effort did not last, and the staff members were soon let go or reassigned. (Mrs. Clinton’s campaign manager, Robby Mook, said they had been hired as temporary workers to sign up volunteers at the start of the campaign, an effort he said had paid off organizationally.)If this kind of play-by-play interests you, note the information in the last paragraph above, especially in light of Sanders' recent call for a Howard Dean–like 50-state strategy for the Democratic party as a whole. Note also that union volunteers and support organizations are valid sources of local GOTV resources.
The focus on Iowa, which still haunts Mrs. Clinton after the stinging upset by Barack Obama there in 2008, has been so intense that even organizers in New Hampshire, which holds its primary on Feb. 9, have complained to the campaign’s leadership that they feel neglected.
On a call with supporters last week, Mrs. Clinton’s aides laid out a scenario in which the race against Mr. Sanders stretched through April, a prospect that they said would require about $50 million for a national ground operation and other expenses. ...
For all its institutional advantages, the Clinton campaign lags behind the Sanders operation in deploying paid staff members: For example, Mr. Sanders has campaign workers installed in all 11 of the states that vote on Super Tuesday. Mrs. Clinton does not, and is relying on union volunteers and members of supportive organizations such as Planned Parenthood to help her. ...
Chozick then speculates on how this may play out:
The scramble after the contests in Iowa and New Hampshire will be intense. If Mrs. Clinton fails to win either state and her campaign seems to be stumbling, her donations could dry up. But a loss could also motivate donors who had viewed her nomination as a foregone conclusion.The whole piece is a good read; do check it out for more. Regardless of who is your candidate, this race is getting interesting, to say the least.
Even if Mrs. Clinton wins in Iowa, where she maintains a slight lead in most polls, Mr. Sanders could receive an outpouring of small donations if the outcome is close that would help him compete in subsequent states.
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