But at least one experienced Republican strategist now working for Cain speaks optimistically about Cain’s chances. Steve Grubbs, the new chairman of Cain’s campaign in Iowa, describes an effort that is now on track in this critical early nominating state, with fundraising that is “doing dramatically better” and finally getting volunteers organized. Mr. Grubbs, former chairman of the Iowa GOP who has worked on past presidential campaigns, spoke to the Monitor Wednesday by phone after a meeting with Iowa campaign staff and volunteers.
“The volunteer phone bank was brisk,” said Grubbs. “That’s what I wanted to see. That’s a bit of a change.”
In July, Cain’s top staffers in Iowa resigned, citing a lack of attention by Cain to the state. Grubbs’s appointment as Iowa chairman, announced last Thursday, signaled a renewed commitment by Cain to Iowa, which holds the first nominating contest on Jan. 3. Grubbs says the campaign’s goal is to appoint precinct captains to 80 percent of the state’s 1,800 precincts by Dec. 1.
“So far, we’re exceeding our goals,” says Grubbs, who is unpaid. Cain has four paid staffers in Iowa, he says.
The name of the game in Iowa is organization. Unlike a primary, which involves only voting, an Iowa GOP caucus entails speeches, casting of ballots, party fundraising, and other party business. To do well, a campaign needs to engage in major voter outreach to get supporters to show up on a cold winter night, and devote a fair amount of time. Voter passion matters, but it will take a candidate only so far.