Republican Volunteers Pull Out The Stops For Their Candidates

Jan 27, 2016

With less than a week until the Iowa caucuses, presidential candidates are descending on Iowa.

A trend has emerged among the Republican candidates.

A volunteer for the Donald Trump campaign is walking along a line of rally attendees at the West Gym on the campus of the University of Northern Iowa earlier this month. HE’s trying to get people to sign up to vote.

“Does anybody need to register or re-register to be a Republican?!” he asks.

Trump has taken a different approach to Iowa caucus campaigning by opting for large events instead of the traditional pavement pounding.

Among those in the crowds there are Iowans who have never caucused before.

“This is our second time seeing Trump,” says Kara Bigelow-Baker. “We went to see him when he was in Waterloo. And it was important for my husband and I to come back and bring friends who haven’t seen him.”

For their parts, Jordan Molkenthin and Jacob Edmundson like Trump’s disregard for political correctness.

“He tells it like it is,” says Molkenthin. “He doesn’t need dollars to back him, he shoots from the hip and he’s not going to get boughten out.”

“Talks like anyone of us out there,” says Edmundson. “From the heart and from his head, like he said.”

All three of these Iowans were not volunteering for Trump.

Trump, who’s currently neck-and-neck with fellow Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz is doing things quite differently than his fellow front-runner.

On a recent Monday evening, a pack of Ted Cruz supporters returned from a full day knocking doors.

They’re staying at a temporary home of a dorm near the former campus of AIB College of Business in Des Moines.

It chock full of out-of-staters in Iowa volunteering for Ted Cruz.

Jerry Dunleavy is from Ohio and is living in this dorm that houses 100 people.

“Quit my job,” he laughs, “came out here, nothing lined up after. It’s all about helping Cruz win here in Iowa and we go from there.

Alan Drennan is a volunteer visiting from Texas.

“I retired in May and I had some time on my hands and I saw the “volunteer for Ted Cruz” message in the email and I thought I think I’ll go do that,” he says.

Meanwhile, other Republican presidential campaigns have smaller footprints.

Before the last Republican presidential debate, four volunteers for New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s presidential campaign made phone calls.

Among the volunteers, Patrick Finnegan is a former College Republican chair at the University of Northern Iowa and says he hopes Christie can do well on caucus night.

“He’s not afraid to really put the answer in and say I’m going to give you the truth and if you don’t like it that’s too bad,” he says.  “That’s what I stand for and hopes that’s what you stand for and he tells it like it is and that’s what I like.”

And many of the campaigns would settle for their candidates exceeding expectations if not winning.

Because after all, many see three tickets out of Iowa to keep their momentum going.