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Iowa Day 2

All the news today seemed to be about the Santorum surge lately and it seems like a great anomaly to me.  There is no way he will be able to run much of a campaign beyond Iowa due to his lack of money, even if he comes in second or third place in the caucus.  However, Jun and many others in the Paul campaign rightly see this as a potential threat thanks to many Huckabee supporters who are well organized now carrying the Santorum banner.  Thus, a negative robo-call campaign against Santorum was quickly organized to run today and tomorrow in an attempt to deflate his sudden rise in the Iowa polls.

This morning I met two young men and their mom who were other supporters staying at my hotel who had driven up from Kentucky the night before.  Together we headed to the Johnson County campaign office to get brought up to speed about what needed to be done.  However, to get our blood flowing, one of the county coordinators decided it would be great to have a sign bomb down at the intersection and didn’t want to stop until we got 15 honks.  Thus, about 10 volunteers took Ron Paul banners and signs out to the streets in 22 degree weather with a wind chill making it feel like 4 degrees according to my AccuWeather.  It wouldn’t have been so bad if it weren’t for the wind, and after about 20-30 minutes we all couldn’t feel our faces and our fingers started to feel that icy pain that’s a precursor to frostbite.  There’s nothing like suffering for a cause!

Beautiful Iowa scenery heading down 80 east

Entering Davenport

Once we defrosted in the campaign office, I took off with Jun to drive an hour east to Davenport and help do some outreach at the Ron Paul / Rand Paul wistle-stop tour at 1 PM.  It ended up being a great turnout, with about 200 people showing up to the event including dozens of reporters and a CNN news van.  After Ron and Rand spoke, we helped coral all the locals who were planning on caucusing tomorrow into a training session organized by the Story County Ron Paul coordinators.  If all the counties across Iowa are as organized as Story County, Ron Paul is going to have an easy wins hands down but I don’t think we can assume anything.

After a quick bite to eat for lunch, Jun and I met up at the campaign office in Davenport to print some phone-banking lists and then went over to The Lodge hotel in Bettendorf.  Here we met up with Zachariah, the coordinator for Illinois volunteers, as well as many other out of state volunteers staying at he hotel.  By utilizing the multitude of volunteers, we were able to split up the list of likely stump speakers from our rp2012 database and follow up with them with calls to make sure they were ready for the caucus tomorrow.  Almost everyone who I talked to on my phone list was super prepared and positive about participating in the caucus and this gave me a lot of hope.  It was amazing to see how enthusiastic all the out of state volunteers were about supporting Ron Paul, and I think they are going to make a big difference tomorrow.

Standing room only at the Ron Paul whistle-stop

Davenport campaign office

Iowa Day 1

After a relatively smooth flight into Des Moines, I got my rental car and drove 2 hours east to the Clarion Highlander Hotel in Iowa City.  I didn’t get in until about 8 PM, and once I unpacked my stuff I gave my rp2012.org contact, Jun, a call to see if there was anything still going on at the campaign office in Coralville which was just 10 minutes away.  To my surprise, there were many people still at the office so he told me to come on over to get caught up.

Ron Paul's Johnson County campaign office

When I arrived, I finally got to meet some people face-to-face who I had only talked to on the phone or seen online.  The Johnson County coordinator was inside busily working, as well as a girl from the Revolution PAC and a number of other volunteers from various grassroots organizations.  Jun showed me a county map of Iowa that noted how many precinct vacancies each one had and which ones we were concentrating on in the eastern part of the state.  These were in no way concrete numbers, but we estimated there were about 70 precinct vacancies that needed captains (out of 1784 precincts total), so this wasn’t too shabby.  Thus, our next goal is to to fill those precincts with vacancies as well as find backups captains for many others with our stream of volunteers.  I took off a little after 11 and the office still had several people working diligently.

When I woke up next morning to grab some breakfast at my hotel, I couldn’t help but notice the TV commercials playing.  Within the span of my meal, I saw a Newt Gingrich commercial, followed by ones for Rick Perry and then Ron Paul.  The media bombardment was in full effect 48 hours prior to the first caucus!  After eating breakfast, I took a look outside and noticed a small dusting of snow had fallen over night.  Also, another Ron Paul patriot had pulled up next to my car at the hotel!  In addition to helping Jun do some volunteer organizing, I might also do some outreach at Ron Paul’s and Rand Paul’s Whiste-Stop Tour up in Cedar Rapids.  Exciting times await!

Ron Paul reifnorcements!