She’s fucking moving to Iowa.
Well, Kamala Harris may as well rent her own apartment here, because she’ll be spending half of October in Iowa as part of a new, all-in blitz of the lead-off caucus state.
Harris’ campaign leadership confirmed to reporters on a call this morning the new campaign strategy that was inadvertently leaked by the senator herself in a colorfully-phrased remark picked up yesterday.
“I’m f****** moving to Iowa,” Sen. Kamala Harris joked to Sen. Hirono (before she noticed me) pic.twitter.com/dv0PRWLY8g
— Matt Laslo (@MattLaslo) September 18, 2019
Looking for a top three finish on caucus night, Harris will bring on 60 new hires for their Iowa field team, bringing their total Iowa staff number to between 120 and 130. They’ll also be opening ten new field offices across the state in the near future. Harris herself will be spending time in Iowa every week during the month of October.
“Iowa has a history of breaking late,” noted Harris campaign manager Juan Rodriguez on the call.
With those Iowans tuning in even more in the post-Labor Day stretch, Harris aims on being on the ground here as much as possible to win them over in person.
The new investment comes as Harris has cooled off significantly in state and national polling since her breakout debate moment in June. Harris top staffers described that poll bounce as a “sugar high” that wasn’t ever going to be sustained, and communications director Lily Adams suggested there’d be a lot more “ebb and flow” in “bouncy” and “fluid” polls in the months to come.
Rodriguez explained the campaign was looking for a strong Iowa finish in the top three to “slingshot” her candidacy into the next early states and the Super Tuesday gauntlet.
It’s the kind of realization that nearly every candidate is coming to: without a finish in probably the top three or — if you started out as a low-polling candidate — the top five or six in Iowa, it will be difficult to bounce back in a later state. With a significant amount of national delegates being accounted for by the end of Super Tuesday in early March, one month after Iowa, you simply can’t survive the primary without early momentum and wins.
Harris began to invest seriously in Iowa in July with a major staffing addition, then began running TV ads for a month in August into early September. She did a five-day bus tour in Iowa in early August, meant to signal her commitment to seriously competing here.
However, today is only her first return visit to the state since the Iowa State Fair week. That’s partially been due to a heavy fundraising schedule as she fills up her campaign coffers before the end of the fundraising quarter so she can spend more time on the ground afterward.
In a way, Harris’ timing is about one fundraising quarter behind Pete Buttigieg, who spent most of the second quarter banking massive amounts of money following his breakout moment in a CNN town hall in March. That’s allowed him to spend several long trips, including one coming up this next week, in Iowa.
Nearly the entire Democratic field will be in Iowa this weekend for the Polk County Democrats Steak Fry. Harris’ team appears to be planning to make a big statement there — she’s one of three candidates (Joe Biden and Buttigieg are the others) who have reserved two rally sites on the Steak Fry grounds.
by Pat Rynard