Monday, February 7, 2011

Beaumont: Can Palin set up an Iowa ground game?

An unofficial grass-roots effort is underway
The punditocracy makes much of the fact that Gov. Palin, the GOP's "biggest rock star," has not done any official organizing in Iowa. But the Des Moines Register's Thomas Beaumont finds the unofficial efforts of Palin supporter Peter Singleton, a California lawyer, to be noteworthy. Singleton paid a visit to Iowa in January and will back in The Hawkeye State later this week to huddle with local Republican and conservative activists:
It's an unofficial grass-roots effort, he said, unaffiliated with Palin's political action committee, although Palin's PAC political director also has kept in touch with some supporters since last fall.

Singleton's effort is aimed at making party contacts, similar to the early stages of an official caucus campaign, in the event Palin runs - and he assumes she will.

But it's not a draft movement, and not much of an organization at all.

"We all have a pretty good idea of who she is, what she stands for and where she's going," Singleton said in an interview. "So when you are factoring in what kind of organization she is going to have on the ground, when and if she announces, you have to account for the people that support the governor at the level I do, folks who are on the ground not only identifying supporters and potential supporters, but also talking with all sorts of people about the issues, values, and principles most important to them, and about what's at stake in the upcoming election."


Singleton has talked with Iowa Tea Party Chairman Ryan Rhodes, an up-and-coming organizer in a movement that embraces Palin.

Singleton plans to meet with Black Hawk County Republican Party officials when he returns this month, and is making contacts with activists in northern and western Iowa, activists say.


With Palin's star power, "I think she could get in later with a big impact as long as she has some people fanning the flames for her there," Murphy said. "Once you have some credibility, you've done a debate, and have some activists lined up, there's a lot of movement late. The thinking that it's all locked up is overrated."

- JP

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