Rand Paul

Rand Paul's Iowa Hopes

With help from multiple SuperPACs and college kids as a hoped-for ace in the hole, Paul fights to win in Iowa caucuses.


Rand Paul likely needs to pull off a very good showing on February 1 in Iowa if his campaign is to have any future. Ron Paul in 2012 pulled 21 percent, and Rand thinks it's not quite conceivable that his father's fans could go for the likes of Ted Cruz, though current polling does not bear out his belief that he'll pull anything close to a Ron-like percentage. (Paul's as confused as some others are as to how the "Tea Party" energy that helped propel his libertarian-leaning self to the Senate seems to be coalescing around Trump.)

However, his student supporters insist that since this caucus is happening, unlike the last one, while college is in session, that a vast unpolled (since they don't have landlines) student and youth vote is going to make a miracle for Paul. Paul has a vast announced Iowa leadership team.

Corie Whalen Stephens, writing at Rare, a generally pro-Paul publication that employs his former aid and co-author Jack Hunter, wonders if he can pull off a big surprise in Iowa, and explains reason for hope:

Paul's Iowa campaign has appointed 1,000 precinct captains and claims to have made an astounding 500,000 get-out-the-vote calls….

"These are feats that have been unheralded by the media," said Paul, noting his supporters' on-the-ground organizing and his well-attended campaign events.

Paul explained that Iowa has approximately 1,600 precincts and that his campaign has appointed captains in over two-thirds of them. "What outsiders don't realize is that some people show up and aren't sure who they're supporting. They can be convinced by the captains who stand up and speak in their precincts," he said.

Paul also noted that captains help recruit others and bring them to the caucus. "I think we're in a good position to turn our people out," he said….

Another factor that could give Paul an edge is his reliance on a secret weapon other candidates have overlooked: The youth vote. "We have 22 college campuses organized," said Paul, "And we're having a rally at Iowa State University just preceding the caucus."

While campaigning in Iowa, Paul's still trying to claim his unique ground, as the rare Republican campaigning at barber shops with mostly African-American clientele to talk criminal justice reform.

Daily Caller has more on the campaign's student strategy:

….the campaign has had between 40 and 50 college students in Iowa making phone calls on a daily basis in an attempt to attract the Libertarian-leaning millennials Paul's father, former Texas Congressman Ron Paul, managed to captivate during his presidential bids and time in the House.

"We've organized all across Iowa on campuses, we're recruiting what we call our Iowa 10,000 to try and bring 10,000 college students to the caucus – so we feel really good that our grassroots effort are really strong there," Senior National Advisor Michael Biundo told The Daily Caller News Foundation. "In addition to that, we've organized 1,000 precinct captains throughout the state. You need a lot of organization to get people out on an icy, cold Iowa night to spend several hours at the caucus location – and having done it before, having that many precinct captains is a significant milestone a lot of campaigns can't tout."

A Paul-supporting SuperPAC, Concerned American Voters, has raised over $5 million over the course of the campaign and have been focusing their early efforts on get-out-the-vote and voter identification in Iowa.

They also have a pro-Paul video ad with over 238,000 views and over 3,500 shares. 

Their digital ad strategy hopes to make sure anyone even potentially interested in Paul sees some of their content, and they have launched a half-million digital ad buy for that purpose. They have 30 videos already circulating, and intend to have more than 75 by the end of the month.

Their calling operation has identified over 37,000 potential Paul caucus voters, who have claimed they either will, are likely to, or might vote for him.

Jeff Frazee, a veteran of Ron Paul's campaigns and president of that PAC, predicts an Iowa win would open as yet-closed taps of cash for Paul. The idea apparently is that many very wealthy folk are inclined to help but not inclined to pour money into something they have no confidence will have any electoral traction.

Another Paul-supporting SuperPAC, PurplePAC, has an ad for Paul they've developed airing on TV in Des Moines and Cedar Rapids now. It will be airing 25 times on the ABC affiliate in Cedar Rapids, six time on Fox affiliate, 33 times on CBS affiliate, and 46 times on NBC affiliate. In Des Moines, it will air 36 times on local CBS, 11 on Fox, 40 on NBC, and 30 on ABC, for a total 227 airings in both markets combined.

The ad, below, is built around the visual and textual metaphor of liberty as a flame that only Rand Paul will keep stoked:

Paul will be campaigning in New Hampshire this Friday and Saturday, and he swung through Iowa over the weekend. (You can keep up with his event schedule here.

Rand Paul will be doing a Reddit "ask me anything" tonight at 7:30 p.m. eastern.

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  1. Campaigning to non-voters always creates an enthusiastic response, until Election Day. Good luck to Senator Paul though — you would think the fact that the other candidates are unhinged and/or unqualified would be helping him more than it appears to be so far.

  2. Another factor that could give Paul an edge is his reliance on a secret weapon other candidates have overlooked: The youth vote.

    “Dude, let’s go support Rand Paul in the caucus!”
    “Wait, it’s, like, freezing outside. Let’s do bong rips and play Madden instead!”

    1. I’d go to a caucus high.

      1. I’m not a fan of Jim Anchover character, but I’d love to see him (try to) go to a Rand Paul event.

    2. This is why I just keep a bong in my car.

  3. What are these cock-asses? And how does one win one?

    1. ask warty

  4. I had a nice conversation with a Rand-caller the other night. This has been the only non-robot call I have had in last 6 months.

    1. Sheesh, kinnath, doesn’t Epi’s mom call you anymore?

      1. He said NON-robot.

        1. She’s a rue-bot. After “visiting” her you end up questioning all of your life choices.

      2. Epi’s mom doesn’t care much about Iowa. Never really has.

  5. Boy, would I love to see the media have a collective aneurysm at the sight of a guy they’ve buried for months coming right the fuck out of nowhere to win Iowa on the backs of a wave of young voters emerging from the shadows.

    Not gonna happen, because the under-30 turnout to the Iowa caucuses in non-first-black-president years is 3 or 4 percent. And Rand Paul is no black president. Regardless, a pleasant fantasy.

  6. Let’s face it. All those college kids are going to go out for Bernie not Rand (if at all).

  7. I grew up in Iowa and I attended a caucus when at Iowa State. It’s a pretty weird experience. Everyone gathers in a big room where (most) every candidate has a table with people and literature. They all have a turn to talk and then they ask everyone to go stand in front of the table of the guy they like. A secret ballot, it is not.

    After people were in groups, the wrangling began. Each camp tried to get people over to their side. Smaller groups were especially pressured to join forces with others in an attempt to stand up to the dominant candidate. This went through several rounds. Pretty fun actually.

  8. The landlines bit is something pundits love to talk about, but it never materializes. It would be nice if Paul got a top 3-4 showing, though, because that would make it hard to keep him out of the debates.

  9. I think the earnest and thoughtful college students going out for Rand at the caucuses will be overwhelmed by the smug and cocky bellicosity of the Trump and Cruz supporters. Think science fair vs football team+cheerleaders.

    1. As a general rule, Paul supporters are overwhelmingly vocal at the college level. They also tend to be smug and bellicose. The bigger issue will be the (understandable) tendency to dismiss the college kids.

      1. As a general rule, the status quo PC statists are the smuggiest, and the most bellicose and vocal. The tendency to dismiss college kids and new ideas on the other hand? (Understandable?!) There are of course reasons why these new ideas are dismissed. Not reasonable ones. But at this point what does it matter?

  10. Rand Paul getting a good showing in Iowa would be very surprising. I’m not taking bets on it though.

  11. Yeah, as an Iowan, not to confident in this. Granted I’m not in a college town. Nobody talks about him here. It’s all Cruz and trump with the country club for Bush.

  12. I would love to see something over 5 percent at least.

    This whole election cycle is completely bizarre.

  13. Rand Paul might have occasional flashes of libertarian, but Republican voters don’t.

  14. There are quite a few of Ron’s supporters working for Cruz in IA. Didn’t have to be that way. Some advice to Rand:
    If you want some of the magic of 2012 on the campaign trail, when your dad is stumping for you, make sure his iconic security guy John Baeza is with him. You’ll need him for the bigger crowds Ron will draw; and no one is more dedicated to Ron Paul.
    This is the best and probably only free advice the campaign will get.

  15. Nice information tracking number ups

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