Martin O’Malley’s incipient presidential campaign already has 11 staffers on the ground in Iowa, working to elect Democrats and build valuable connections for 2016.
Several sources have told The Daily Beast that the Maryland governor, a War of 1812 aficionado, has placed staffers through the Iowa Democratic Party’s coordinated campaign, the umbrella organization that runs field efforts for all the Democratic candidates. That’s in addition to the campaigns of the Democratic nominee for governor, Jack Hatch, and Democratic nominee for secretary of state, Brad Anderson, as previously reported by the Des Moines Register. The staffers are focused on either field efforts or political outreach.
O’Malley, who was the first Democratic presidential hopeful to appear in the Hawkeye State is the only Democrat with staff on the ground in Iowa. He also has sent staffers through his political action committee, the O’Say Can You See PAC, to New Hampshire and South Carolina. In Iowa, O’Malley is mirroring former Indiana senator Evan Bayh, who in 2006 sent a number of paid staff to help Hawkeye State Democrats before eventually deciding not to run for president.
The staffers O’Malley has placed will give him a head start if he chooses to run for president. They will be able to identify potential supporters far in advance, as well as build lists of volunteers key to the grassroots organizing necessary in the Iowa caucuses. And deploying staffers allows O’Malley to earn chits with Iowa Democrats and build a reservoir of goodwill that he can use in the future.
“He’s committed to electing Democrats in 2014, and this commitment of staff in Iowa is part of that strategy,” said Lis Smith, a spokesman for O’Malley.
But O’Malley doesn’t have the Hawkeye State all to himself. Hillary Clinton is scheduled to appear Sunday at the Harkin Steak Fry, the premier Democratic fundraising event in the state. It is Clinton’s first visit to Iowa since the 2008 caucuses, but her super PAC, Ready for Hillary, has been organizing in the state in recent months and has bought access to the Iowa Democratic Party’s voter file. And while Clinton likely won’t have any staff on the ground in Iowa this cycle, she did have quite a few people campaigning on her behalf there just six years ago.