URBANDALE — Iowa leaders of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign said Wednesday Republicans have a united front in this key battleground state that is building momentum for Trump from new voters who are sick of Washington politics and want to see the country change direction.
Eric Branstad, state director for Trump’s Iowa campaign, and Matt Dailer, Republican National Committee Iowa Victory program director, said they are working in concert on a coordinated effort aimed at garnering Trump Iowa’s six electoral votes and winning down-ballot races for GOP candidates.
“The campaign is fired up,” Branstad told members of the Westside Conservative Club. “There is a movement going on.”
Dailer said there are 60 paid RNC staffers working Iowa, knocking on 40,000 doors per week and coordinating an early-voting effort that hopefully will pay dividends on Nov. 8 Election Day. That is in contrast with other states where schisms have formed between Trump and establishment Republicans.
“Ignore what you read in the news,” Dailer said. “We are here to do this job and we are not going anywhere” – a comment that drew robust applause.
Branstad acknowledged the Trump campaign had “a wild several days, needless to say” following the release of a videotape where Trump was heard engaging in what he called “locker room” talk about groping women. That was followed by Trump issuing an apology and going on the offensive in a televised debate with Democratic rival Hillary Clinton on the same weekend the Des Moines Register released an Iowa Poll showing Trump 4 percent ahead of Clinton (43 percent to 39 percent) in a survey taken before the controversial videotape was made public.
“We’ve been really fortunate to have put together a really fantastic team that is working together. The media is trying to write this story that the RNC doesn’t get along with the Trump campaign and there’s all this infighting going on. That really couldn’t be further from the truth,” Branstad told the conservative group. “I think it is apparent that we are being treated differently and unfairly with the media, so we’ve got to keep that in our heads when we watch and read some of the things that we do.”
Dailer said his read of the Iowa political landscape is that “the enthusiasm is not there for Hillary, which we guessed all along,” while Branstad said new Iowa voters or people disenfranchised for years are coming forward to contribute money, pick up yard and barn signs and request absentee ballots to support Trump.
“The passion and energy out there – I’ve never seen it. We’ve got a whole crop of new people and these people are passionate,” said Branstad. “We need to grasp that energy and that passion and we need to turn that into action.
“Folks are tired of Washington, they’re tired of Washington rhetoric, they’re tired of all of those things that are causing the problems that we are facing today,” he added. “It is a movement and we are part of that movement.”
Hillary for Iowa campaign spokeswoman Kate Waters refuted GOP claims, saying: “Iowa women got to see and hear Donald Trump’s demeaning, degrading, and offensive behavior for ourselves last week. Donald Trump is unfit to be president and early voting so far shows Iowans are rejecting Donald Trump’s hateful rhetoric and dangerous policies in droves, and supporting Hillary Clinton’s plans to build an economy that works for everyone, not just those at the top.”