Democrats will be getting some extra ground forces in their battle to flip Iowa’s 1st District back to their control. The Progressive Turnout Project is launching a full field operation to assist Democrat Monica Vernon in her campaign against Republican Congressman Rod Blum. They already have more than ten organizers on the ground in the district, with plans to add more between now and the election.
The 1st District is seen by Democrats nationally as one of their best chances for a pick-up, and key to the party’s chances of retaking the House (no longer a complete impossibility with Trump on the ballot). Many progressive organizations will likely make TV ad buys to assist. The Turnout Project looks to focus on individual, in-person voter contact.
“Decades of research has shown that connecting with voters one-on-one at the door is the best way to get people to the polls, boosting turnout by as much as 8 percent, and having a lasting impact on voting behavior,” said their National Field and Training Director Alex Morgan in a press release. “We know that voters in IA-1 share our Democratic values, but Republicans like Rod Blum, Donald Trump and their allies think they can buy this district. By building relationships with voters and talking about the issues that matter we know we can take back this district and ensure that the people of Iowa’s first district get the representation they deserve.”
Progressive Turnout Project can’t coordinate with Vernon’s official campaign as they’re organized as a PAC. That can sometimes get tricky on the ground, as those who used to work field know. You can try to avoid hitting the same areas in close succession, but there’s no perfect way to do it. Still, more bodies out talking with voters, getting them to vote early and informing them about the candidates is always a net positive for turnout.
Their organization looked at many key Congressional districts around the country and tried to find areas with significant populations of sporadic-voting Democrats they thought they could help turn out. Iowa’s 1st District is one of seven Congressional targets they feel they can be most effective in. Parts of Waterloo, Marshalltown and southwest Cedar Rapids often struggle with lower turnout rates, so extra field staff in these areas could be a big boost to Democrats.
by Pat Rynard