Good morning readers! I hope you all had a great holiday and are rested and relaxed for the final month of the Iowa Caucus. This Sunday Grab Bag will be a lot shorter as I’ve been spending the past couple days with family and there isn’t as much to write about.
5 Weeks Left – What Do You Want To Read?
We’re fast approaching February 1st, caucus night in Iowa. Many are ready for it to be over. I’m not. Covering the Iowa Caucus with Iowa Starting Line has been the best professional experience I’ve ever had.
But with so few weeks left, I need to be strategic in what I choose to write about. I’ll keep covering the news of the day and important caucus developments, but there’s a lot of special topics I still want to get to. Some of my favorite posts I’ve written were about unique looks at caucus organizing and campaigns that most other news outlets don’t cover.
What other unique angles are there to cover before the caucus is over? I want to hear what you’re interested in reading about. What do you think hasn’t been covered by most of the press? What caucus story or campaign is still confusing to you? What’s something different you want to know about? Leave a comment on this page or on our Facebook thread.
Here’s a few of my current ideas for some final in-depth stories to cover:
- What’s it like to work on a Super PAC instead of the candidate side?
- How is the Sanders campaign planning on getting first-time caucus-goers out on February 1st?
- How the Bernie Sanders phenomenon undermined Rand Paul’s campaign
- How so many of the Republicans have run really crappy campaigns in Iowa
I’ll talk about Starting Line’s plans for post-Iowa Caucus next week.
Rubio Half-Assing Iowa While Cruz Plays To Win
With a little than a month out from the Iowa Caucus, Marco Rubio still hasn’t gotten the memo that he needs to work harder here. His campaign may think that his upcoming 3-day trip is a step in the right direction, but you only need to compare it to Ted Cruz’s upcoming schedule.
Here’s Rubio’s schedule for his upcoming bus tour:
Dec 28, 11:00 a.m. – Burlington
Dec 29, 12:00 p.m. – Clinton
Dec 29, 3:00 p.m. – Waterloo
Dec 29, 6:15 p.m. – Sioux City
Dec 30, 8:00 a.m. – Pella
Dec 30, 10:30 a.m. – Newton
Dec 30, 1:15 p.m. – Boone
Now here’s Cruz’s six-day bus schedule that plans to hit up a full 36 counties:
Monday, January 4
Tuesday, January 5
Wednesday, January 6
Palo Alto County
Thursday, January 7
Buena Vista County
Friday, January 8
Cerro Gordo County
Saturday, January 9
Cruz does as many stops in one day as Rubio does in three. And Cruz appears to be committed to the full 99-county strategy, methodically knocking out small regions a day at a time. That makes a difference. Yes, some people within a county or two will drive into places like Sioux City, but obviously not everyone.
Rubio has a number of medium-size cities in there, but a better caucus operation would be well past those stops by now and be hitting the more rural areas like Cruz. And he’s traversing long parts of the state in a bus. A well-done Iowa bus tour does more of an approach like Cruz’s, where you jump off the bus for lots of smaller events in the same region, rather than a few larger ones in multiple media markets. It seems completely unnecessary to start a day in Clinton and end it in Sioux City. That’s a ton of driving when you could hit lots of other cities in-between.
Rubio is already well behind in his organizing here – three-stop kind of days won’t make up much. And Cruz, criticized for skipping Iowa for most of December, shows he still has his eye on the ball with this extensive, 36-county tour. Does Rubio really want to be President? Because if he does, he needs to work harder for it.
The Week Ahead
Iowans got a few days of rest from the candidates around the holidays, but are getting immediately bombarded once again. Martin O’Malley embarks on a 4-day swing starting today, mostly covering central Iowa. Bernie Sanders continues his extensive travels to Iowa with a 3-day trip to southeastern Iowa. Chris Christie does one of his longest Iowa trips yet, with 3 days in eastern and central Iowa. Donald Trump makes an appearance in Council Bluffs and Rubio does his aforementioned tour.
I’m not sure yet who I’ll be covering, but I expect to be back on the road a lot. Pray for little snow.
by Pat Rynard