“Elizabeth Warren has the best ground game in the state right now. She’s been building that up for a year,” says Sean Bagniewski, chair of the Democratic Party in Polk County, who hasn’t endorsed a presidential candidate. “She has the most staff who are the most ingrained in the most Democratic communities in Iowa.”
…Warren’s campaign has been notable for the depth of its engagement in local communities.
When a local animal shelter needed a boost, Gomez brought Warren volunteers to help. When a neighborhood in Des Moines needed help with their community garden, Hines organized Warren volunteers to pull weeds and till the soil. “I said, ‘Great, we’ll be there every Saturday,’” he recalls. “We fed folks in the community where there are no grocery stores around. We went door-to-door handing out vegetables to people.” Hines says the area near the garden now has several Warren signs that weren’t there before.
…Hines and Gomez say they tell their volunteers never to bash Warren’s opponents when they encounter a supporter of a different candidate. “We say, ‘That’s fine, I like them too, what do you like about them?” says Hines. “We never speak negatively about another candidate.” That’s especially important in Iowa, where the caucus process allows supporters of less popular candidates to switch to another as the caucus goes on if their first choice flops.
“We know that we’re a lot of people’s second choice, and we know that if we start playing divisive politics that’s not going to help us,” Gomez says. “No matter who you’re caucusing for, we’re always going to be polite, respectful, kind. We know that’s going to win us delegates on caucus night for sure.”
…Schumann started off knocking doors twice a week, Gomez says, then graduated to four times a week.
“I’m very impressed with his dedication,” says Gomez. “He thinks it’s the last campaign he’ll be able to knock doors for, and what better way to end his canvassing experiences than by trying to elect the first woman president.”
We’ll see on caucus/election day how much but approach and organization does matter.