Perry bets Iowa fortunes on robust ground game
December 31st, 2011
02:48 PM ET
2 years ago

Perry bets Iowa fortunes on robust ground game

Boone, Iowa (CNN) - Even as they grapple with mediocre poll numbers, a gaffe-prone candidate and internal staff feuding, Rick Perry's advisers are confident that a top-three caucus finish is within reach on Tuesday.

The reason? Organization.

Aside from Iowa frontrunners Mitt Romney and Ron Paul, Perry is thought to be the only Republican candidate here with the kind of sophisticated ground game to pull off a much-needed comeback.

And with public and internal polling from various campaigns showing the fight for third place to be a fluid one between Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich and Perry, a robust organization can mean the difference between a ticket home and a ticket to New Hampshire.

There are 1,774 Republican caucus precincts around the state, 900 of which are combined and held at the same location.

As of Friday, the Texas governor had signed up 1,500 precinct leaders in Iowa, a source inside the Perry campaign told CNN.

The source requested anonymity because staffers are not authorized to reveal the information.

The Perry camp also has 470 out-of-state volunteers descending on Iowa this weekend (including Perry's own family, which flew in on Friday).

The source said that by caucus night, "we will easily have over 2,000 Perry volunteers" fanning out across the state knocking on doors and speaking for Perry at their voting sites.

That means roughly 95% of caucus locations will hear from a representative from the Perry campaign on Tuesday night, the source added.

Campaigns in Iowa do not typically reveal their precinct leader figures, mainly to keep caucus night expectations in check.

But those leaders - regular men and women who sign up with a campaign to speak for their preferred candidate at their local precincts - play a crucial role on caucus night.

"The best example of organization on caucus night is who the candidates have as their surrogate speaker in their precincts," said Iowa Republican Party chairman Matthew Strawn. "When you have a third of the electorate persuadable to change, the people they have standing up in each precinct for their candidate becomes real important."

The Romney campaign will not share its number of precinct captains, and the Paul campaign has closely guarded the details of its grassroots operation.

"We don't share any of that information," Paul campaign manager Jesse Benton said.

Santorum's late-blooming campaign, which is hoping for a more organic turnout based on the candidate's appeal to social conservatives and evangelicals, was more forthcoming.

"We have over 1,000 precinct captains," Santorum campaign manager Mike Biundo told CNN earlier this week, a number that could spike in the wake of his late surge in the polls.


Filed under: 2012 • Iowa • Rick Perry
soundoff (59 Responses)
  1. allyea

    Perry for President!! He is presidential material, until he opens his mouth

    December 31, 2011 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  2. NoTags

    It would be interesting to know who Perry's 470 "out-of-state" volunteers work for. An investigative reporter should interview some of them.

    December 31, 2011 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  3. vote the Tea Party OUT in 2012

    I am so glad when I look at Iowa that I can see it is NOT a total representation of the nation as a whole. If it were we would be in a heap of trouble.

    December 31, 2011 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  4. Seattle Sue

    I thought Perry said he was not a betting man, just a big liar.

    December 31, 2011 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  5. Mundo

    To answer Terrance's ? Take Back America from the illegal alien Prez Obama. & Prez Obama & his Crying Heart Liberal Demos are the ones running on Slogan "yes we can" & zero substance. What has Prez Obama done Other than LIE his way into the White House. To them, I say " Yes, U could have But NO, U did NOT" Ahuuuuua

    December 31, 2011 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  6. DENNA

    Rick Perry is simply not qualified to be president. Seriously, I think this man is even dumber than W. We have got to develop standards for our presidents, or we risk looking like jokes to the rest of the world. I think America is better than that.

    December 31, 2011 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  7. buckup

    The GOP juggernaut is very lame news Bombastic, foolish and self important people who want to lead us.
    Lets find out what they are eating for lunch and how many squares of toilet paper they use.
    Oops, I should have not said that.

    December 31, 2011 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  8. intnva

    Perry the puppet... doesn't stand a chance

    December 31, 2011 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  9. Republicans are just a bunch of liers

    All of them suck!!!! Happy New Years everyone!!!!

    December 31, 2011 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  10. BJ Bell

    Perry is just dumb, really dumb - he may have some good speech writers but if you listen to this guy having to think on his feet you realize - he's dumber than dirt, no more Texans please, we're still suffering as a Country from GW..

    Just say NO to another dumb Texan.....

    December 31, 2011 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  11. George Edward

    I'm from Texas and I'll be the first . . . well, one of many to admit that Perry and Paul are an embarrassment!

    December 31, 2011 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  12. Bessy

    Time for him to pack it up and go home. It will be Mitt. He will not win the presidential race but he will win in Iowa.
    Personally, I will be glad to see it over as I am tired of hearing about who is the front runner of the day.

    December 31, 2011 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  13. MAngeline

    This guy is too dumb to ever be President...or Governor for that matter. He's held office in TX for 10 years, and the stats in that state are abysmal. TX is ranked down near the bottom of folks who even graduate from high school. The state is also ranked low in health care for its citizens. Would hate to think how he would ever lead this country. Forget him talking and negotiating with world leaders since he has trouble retaining facts and speaking coherently. Let's hope Iowans send him back to TX.

    December 31, 2011 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
  14. A Texan

    Now do you see what we have been putting up with in Texas !?!?!?!? However, I`m concerned we will get Dewhurst as Governor if Perry moves on. --Dewhurst is only worth several hundred million !!!! We are more corrupt in Austin than Louisana ever was at its worst----

    December 31, 2011 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  15. Ken

    "Perry's advisers are confident that a top-three caucus finish is within reach on Tuesday"

    In your dreams. In OUR nightmares!!

    December 31, 2011 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  16. Mark

    Organization? This is the same baffoon who has a lawsuit in Va. because he wasn't organized enough to get on the ballot. Go ahead with your ground game Mr Perry, you still wont be the president after 2012 or at any other time.

    December 31, 2011 10:57 pm at 10:57 pm |
  17. Ray Wilbur

    Have enjoyed all the comments on Mitt Romney and the other Republican candidates. But Mitt has introduced an element that had not yet appeared in Republican candidates' criticisms of Obama. Romney's comment that Obama will be remembered as only "a footnote in history" appears to be a racist sneer of the first order. Win or lose, President Obama has made history by being the first African-American to be elected to the office of the U. S. Presidency, and this will hardly be "a footnote" in American history.

    December 31, 2011 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
  18. TomBreed

    Go Ron Paul! I've always supported Dr. Paul and the fact his campaign is actually gaining momentum and possibly a nomination, Im giddy. This is surreal, We have a chance to see REAL change. Through accountability we can restore America to a nation of integrity, dignity, & discipline

    December 31, 2011 11:59 pm at 11:59 pm |
  19. Everythingdies

    He stopped in my hometown, basically led a prayer meeting. I don't want a President that prays things get better, I want one that will do something about it.

    January 1, 2012 12:11 am at 12:11 am |
  20. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    It won't help him much. I think that he and Bachmann will finished as the bottom two. Perry doesn't seem to shine; doesn't seem verysmart which is needed to be president. Bachmann has to go against history because no currently serving member of the House has won the presidency for over 40 years (possibly more).

    January 1, 2012 12:16 am at 12:16 am |
  21. Bigereads

    What a waste of money. If Perry was really Christian and believed in God's Word, he would stop running for an office he will never hold and give over the rest of his campaign money to the poor people of Texas who can't buy health insurance with any of those minimum wage jobs Rick got for them. In fact they can hardly feed themselves on it.

    January 1, 2012 02:22 am at 2:22 am |
  22. Morpunkt

    Sweet. The Evangelical vote continues to be split. Rick Perry's camp is not only anti-Mormon, but anti-Catholic as well.
    His minions are now attacking Rick Santorum, who happens to be Catholic. However, some of the other Evangelicals who are backing Santorum are trying to appear open-minded enough to vote for a non-Evangelical, just not a Mormon.
    Gee, doesn't it seem odd that these Evangelicals wouldn't even consider speed dating towards Hunstman? Not really. That's because he's a Mormon too. Bigotry marches on in the GOP camp.
    I want to puke.

    January 1, 2012 02:31 am at 2:31 am |
  23. Drake

    Ground game, phone calls, speeches, interviews, debates etc.

    Why not come up with policies that are based on reality and have been proven to work in the modern world?

    January 1, 2012 02:47 am at 2:47 am |
  24. bp

    This campaign organization, with its financial muscle and ruthlessness, would be so formidable if not for the small detail of the candidate himself. Go back to Texas, Perry – the big leagues are not for you.

    January 1, 2012 04:04 am at 4:04 am |
  25. GMC

    Cow Patty Perry

    January 1, 2012 04:51 am at 4:51 am |
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