Campaigns predict high voter turnout in 2016 election

In Iowa, Democrats have submitted more early ballots

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DES MOINES --- Democrats are focused on early voting; they believe they could have victory assured in some states before Election Day.

Republicans are focused on their ground operation, which they say has been building up for years and is poised to benefit the party up and down the ballot.

With Election Day little more than a month away, the national party leaders took turns explaining to reporters why their respective turnout operations will prove superior when the ballots are counted.

Hillary Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook said he thinks voter turnout in the election could exceed 2008 for the highest in the nation’s history.

Mook also said he thinks more voters will vote early than ever before, and that in some states the Clinton campaign will be assured victory before Election Day. He said so many voters are voting early in states like Florida, North Carolina and Nevada that the campaign may be able to project victory before Election Day.

“We’re encouraging our supporters to cast their vote early,” Mook said. “We could build an insurmountable lead in those key states before Election Day.”

Mook reiterated the Clinton campaign’s effort to target low-propensity voters, particularly for early voting, to lock in their support and not have to worry about whether they will turn out on Election Day. He cited what he said were encouraging early voting statistics in swing states like Florida, Ohio, and North Carolina, and also mentioned Iowa, noting twice as many Democrats as Republicans have voted early and three times as many have returned an absentee ballot.

It’s true that more than twice as many Iowa Democrats have submitted early ballots. But they also have submitted only slightly more than half the number of early ballots as they did at the same point in 2012, according to Iowa Secretary of State data.

Meantime, Republicans thus far have submitted more early ballots than at the same point in 2012.

“In a state like Iowa, Democrats need to run up the score in (early ballots),” said Chris Carr, the Republican Party’s national political director. “This is a positive for us and a concern for the Clinton campaign.”

Republicans feel buoyed by the long-term strategy of their ground game and voter turnout operation, Carr said.

The Donald Trump campaign, national party and state party organizations have been working in concert to maximize the party’s organizational buildup that started in 2013, he said.

“We’re 33 days out and our ground game is running full steam ahead as it plays an integral part in Republicans of all levels winning this year,” Carr said. “We’re working hand-in-glove with the Trump campaign to compliment their operation.”

Carr said he agrees with Mook’s assessment that the 2016 election could set a national turnout record.

For all of The Gazette's Election 2017 coverage, please visit our election coverage center.

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