Politico reported earlier this week that the Donald Trump campaign is looking to set up a joint fundraising operation between them and the RNC and state parties. The structure they’re envisioning would allow for major donors to write much bigger checks that would eventually end up in the Trump and RNC’s coffers. It would also mark a more formal collaboration between Trump and the party infrastructure.
So far, however, those talks haven’t made their way to Iowa yet.
“We have not had specific conversations,” Republican Party of Iowa Chair Jeff Kaufmann told reporters last night. “We took a neutrality pledge, and we lived by that neutrality pledge … There were absolutely be coordination and a lot of coordination between the Trump campaign and the Republican Party of Iowa. That’s not just rhetoric when I tell you we’re all moving in the same direction.”
On the Democratic side, staffers from Hillary Clinton’s campaign are already working in key positions of the Iowa Democratic Party (though it’s not yet been publicly announced). A contingent of her most experienced operatives from her Iowa Caucus team are back and are heading up the party’s coordinated campaign operation. They’ve been building out the field structure for a few weeks now.
Trump’s campaign, which has never really invested much in a field operation, has apparently yet to arrive.
“We have not seen the huge staff coming out,” Kaufmann said, noting there were a few Trump staffers still around from the caucus and others that were at the district conventions. “But again, I can’t emphasize enough, there could be five or six people out here and I may not know that. Right now my focus is to provide a playing field by which Donald Trump can talk directly to Iowans, independents, Republicans and Democrats. When we’ve got that achieved, then we’re going to jump in. And I’ll guarantee, I’ll know every staff member’s name and probably their mother’s maiden name before this is all over. I’m on board. I’m 100%.”
Many in Iowa are watching what the Trump campaign ends up doing with this perennial swing state that Trump lost in the lead-off caucus, despite leading in the late polls here. He let go most of his top staff from the Iowa Caucus soon after, though he did retain former reality TV contestant Tana Goertz.
Near the end of his campaigning in Iowa in January, Trump often joked to crowds that if Iowans didn’t caucus for him and give him a win, he’d never return. Some have wondered if he’s still holding a grudge from that loss. This is all still in the relatively early stages of Trump securing the nomination and officially working with the Republican Party, but there’s no positive signs yet in how his campaign will treat Iowa.
by Pat Rynard