Just wanted to give RedStaters a brief report from the Perry Strike Force. As a point of reference, I volunteered in a 72 hour campaign for President Bush in Florida in 2004. In other words, this isn't my first rodeo in this kind of effort.
Volunteers have been pouring in over the last few days. I arrived in Des Moines Friday night, and following a training session, I immediately began phone banking, going door to door and sign waving.
I believe the reports of actual strike force participants are probably low. There are multiple Strike Force rally points (hubs) across Iowa, and there are several hundred volunteers at my hub alone in West Des Moines.
Morale is very high. The reports coming in are very positive in re to Gov. Perry's bus tour. Perry offered an oustanding performance on Fox News Sunday yesterday also. Every venue is packed and the vast majority of attendees leaving Perry rally's are firmly on board for the Governor which is in contrast to reports on Romney and Gingrich events. Many participants are still leaving these events for Mitt & Newt undecided. Perry staffers have been able to reassign volunteers to more door-to-door, phone banking, etc. due to the large number of local Perry supporters/volunteers/attendees flooding to each of his bus stop events.
One of the most underreported aspects of the Strike Force is the diversity of volunteers. For example, one day I went door to door w/ a Jewish guy from Florida who's an IT guru back home. Another day I went door-to-door w/ a college student from Rhode Island who studies in NYC. Today I went sign-waving w/ a guy from Oklahoma who took vacation time to fly up here. Make no mistakes, the Texans are here, and there are a lot of them testifying on behalf of Gov. Perry's leadership back home. But volunteers from 31 other states are here also, and they are making their presence felt.
The Perry ground game in Iowa is for real, and I think this could easily land him in the top 3 or better when all the dust settles on Caucus night. Many Iowans contacted via phone and door-to-door admit they are still undecided. So we've been able to sell a lot of them on Gov. Perry's strong leadership and record in Texas.
One other advantage of the Strike Force is the sheer organization of the staff. I was a foot solider for Bush in 2004. Bush had the power, organization and war chest of the incumbency at his disposal. The campaign's organization, unsurprisingly, was exceptional. So I've pleasantly surprised how organized Perry's campaign has been here in Iowa despite not having the advantages Bush enjoyed.
One final thought: I think obsession with the latest polling numbers are overemphasized. The Caucus procedure is vastly different than a primary. Consequently, I think the polling would be much more accurate if Iowa were a primary state. But it's not. As a result, organization is going to be critical and worth several percentage points in my view. People supporting Newt, Mitt and Santorum on the phone aren't necessarily going to show up for the Caucus. There is no absentee or early voting in Iowa. Turnout is key. I really have not seen or read any reports of any significant ground effort on behalf of Bachmann, Newt, Santorum, Mitt and he who shall not be named. I may be too insulated, but I honestly don't think they have anything close to the level of enthusiasm, volunteers and organization that Perry enjoys. Responses going to door-to-door, phone banking and sign waving have generally been positive and encouraging, as most Republicans are generally nice, courteous and open-minded.
The Perry campaign is still recruiting volunteers and needs your help. Join the Perry Strike Force from wherever you are by emailing: [email protected]
Tennessee Volunteer for Rick Perry