Iowa Loss Calls Trump’s On the Ground Operation into Question

Trump offering free food and lodging for volunteers who help in New Hampshire.

Feb. 5, 2016, 8:43 a.m.

After a dis­ap­point­ing second place fin­ish­ing in Iowa for real es­tate mogul Don­ald Trump (R), the strength of his cam­paign’s ground game in New Hamp­shire is be­ing called in­to ques­tion.

Dav­id Car­ney, a GOP strategist and hus­band of former HP CEO Carly Fior­ina’s (R) state dir­ect­or: “They have a lot of vo­lun­teers and they’re proud about that, but vo­lun­teers is not a ground game. … They’re ba­sic­ally just pick­ing up the phone book.”

“Dis­cern­ing the strength of any can­did­ate’s ground game can be dif­fi­cult. Mr. Trump has one key in­gredi­ent: an army of vo­lun­teers drawn to him by his pop­ular­ity and his mes­sage. But pre­ci­sion counts, as Iowa demon­strated. And what Mr. Trump ap­pears to lack is what could provide that pre­ci­sion: a dir­ect-mail pro­gram, a com­pre­hens­ive tar­get­ing ef­fort to identi­fy his sup­port­ers and their in­tens­ity, and a ded­ic­ated poll­ster to help pin­point the voters to whom his tele­vi­sion ads might ap­peal.” (New York Times)

HELP WANTED. Trump’s cam­paign is of­fer­ing some sup­port­ers “de­ploy­ment be­ne­fits” to head up to New Hamp­shire and vo­lun­teer: free food, free lodging, and “po­ten­tial op­por­tun­it­ies to be near Mr. Trump.” (New York Times)

PLAY­ING TO THE CROWD. “There were early signs that the elect­or­ate was ready for an in­sur­gency like the one Mr. Trump has in­spired this elec­tion. And some of the most power­ful of those in­dic­at­ors came from New Hamp­shire.”

Former Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) nar­rowly lost his bid for a New Hamp­shire Sen­ate seat, “1 per­cent to 49, but his cam­paign re­cog­nized something that the na­tion­al party seemed for months to miss: The party’s base was deeply angry, and white work­ing-class voters, like those in New Hamp­shire, felt neg­lected by and ali­en­ated from the polit­ic­al sys­tem.”

“Mr. Trump has emerged as the cham­pi­on of those voters who feel neg­lected, in large part by vis­cer­ally amp­li­fy­ing Mr. Brown’s mes­sage that the bor­ders are not se­cure, Amer­ica is not safe from ter­ror­ism, the eco­nomy is lag­ging and im­mig­rants are poised to do harm to the United States. Mr. Brown, as it hap­pens, en­dorsed Mr. Trump this week.” (New York Times)

REALLY TRY­ING. “Stung by his second-place fin­ish in Iowa, Don­ald Trump is fa­cing new pres­sure to prove he can trans­late his massive crowds and poll leads in­to elec­tion wins. And his team ap­peared in­tent to demon­strate on Thursday that they’d learned from any past mis­takes.”

“Trump’s cam­paign in­creased the day’s planned events for New Hamp­shire from two to five — the most he’d ever ad­vert­ised on the trail. He vis­ited with loc­al busi­ness own­ers, an­swer­ing ques­tions and sign­ing auto­graphs, then offered a pep talk to sev­er­al dozen loc­al po­lice.”

“A hand­ful of re­port­ers were also in­vited in­to his cam­paign headquar­ters to chat with staff and vo­lun­teers as he held a private meet­ing — a move that would have been un­heard of in Iowa, where his team im­posed a strict ‘ra­dio si­lence’ policy and shrouded its op­er­a­tion in secrecy.” (AP)

OVER IT. “The day after ac­cus­ing Ted Cruz of win­ning the Iowa caucuses un­fairly and ask­ing for a re­match in the state, Don­ald Trump says he’s now over it.”

Trump: “I’m so much in­to this, in­to New Hamp­shire, that I just — I don’t care about that any­more. … This is the place I’m fo­cused on now.” (CNN)

THE NEXT DE­BATE. “Don­ald Trump will not com­mit to at­tend­ing the next Fox News Re­pub­lic­an primary de­bate on March 3, a move that threatens to re­ignite the ran­cor between the GOP fron­trun­ner and the cable net­work.”

Trump: “It’s a long ways away. We’ll see.” (CNN)

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