With eight days until the February 1 caucus, Iowans may be freezing but they are feeling the heat from the Rubio, Cruz and Trump campaigns. In this cycle, the Iowa caucus may be the final determinant of the Republican primary and not only do the top tier candidates know it, but so do the Iowa caucus goers. Unlike past elections, the Republican nominee could very well march to the nomination straight out of the gate from America’s heartland.
This morning in Ames, Marco Rubio met with over 400 Iowans at the Iowa State University Alumni Center. Under a barrage of $2 million worth of attack ads from Jeb Bush’s ‘Right to Rise PAC,’ Rubio is seeking to cement a top three finish in the caucus. Falling out of the top three will impair any chance that Rubio has to continuing campaign with the plausible path to the nomination. In a sign that the Rubio campaign has already conceded winning or over performing in the caucus, the campaign cancelled over $1 million worth of TV-advertising in Iowa.
However, the Rubio campaign was later greeted with some positive news. The Des Moines Register, Iowa’s influential paper of record, endorsed Rubio writing “Rubio offers an uplifting message of a “new American century.” This endorsement gives Rubio an opportunity to gain some much needed late momentum and mentions in the local news cycles.
Marco Rubio Holds a Townhall at the Iowa State University Alumni Center
Donald Trump held two rallies today. This morning in Sioux Center, Trump spoke to a large audience hitting the themes of his campaign – a strong military, defeating radical Islam and securing the southern border – while rallying his supporters to caucus. On Friday, the Trump Campaign released an ‘Iowa Caucus Finder.’ In a second rally in Pella, Trump was introduced by the Iowa’s most popular politician Sen. Chuck Grassley. While Grassley did not endorse Trump, he praised the campaign and closed by saying “We have an opportunity once again to make America great again.”
Trump has overtaken Ted Cruz in the Real Clear Politics average. If Trump wins the Iowa Caucus, he could very well march through New Hampshire and South Carolina on his effectiovely winning the Republican nomination by February 20th. In an effort to close the deal and stop a late surge from Cruz, the Trump campaign switched all of its ad reservations to 60-second spots in order to air its attack ad on Cruz. The ad suggests that Cruz supports amnesty of illegal immigrants.
Donald Trump Speaks to a large gathering at Dordt College in Sioux Center
After a five day swing in New Hampshire, Cruz returned to Iowa for a rally with Glenn Beck at the Faith Baptist Bible College in Ankeny. The rally, with crowd estimates as high as 2,000 attendees, was organized by Keep the Promise, a Cruz affiliated Super PAC and featured Glenn Beck who formally endorsed Cruz. Echoing his message that he is the sole consistent conservative in the race, Cruz promised to fight the ‘Washington Cartel.’ Cruz followed the rally with three retail campaign stops in Dike, New Hartford and Waterloo.
While the Cruz campaign believes it can finish second in the caucus and still have a plausible path to the nomination, Cruz will find it difficult to gain momentum should he lose. By all accounts, the Cruz campaign has the best organization in Iowa. He has also earned the critical endorsements of both Rep. Steve King and Bob Vander Plaats, president of The Family Leader. And his campaign has heavily invested its time and effort to securing a win on caucus night.
Cruz joins a rally hosted by Keep the Promise at the Faith Baptist Bible College
The next eight days of the election will culminate in a critical turning point not only for the Republican nomination but the direction of the country. And with Hillary Clinton trending down to Bernie Sanders, we could see the beginning of the end of the Clinton machine as well.
The stakes of the 2016 Iowa caucus have never been higher in the modern era of campaign history.