We are more than a year away from the Iowa Caucus and one prospective candidate can already claim to have significant grassroots game before he even really sets foot in the state to run. The National Draft Ben Carson for President Committee announced today that they have organized 136 chairman covering all 99 counties in Iowa.
The committee founded in August 2013 by Vernon Robinson and John Philip Sousa IV is a political action committee that has worked to raise awareness of Carson’s qualifications and engaging with grassroots conservative activists to call for Carson to run.
“Establishing chairs in all 99 Iowa counties is a benchmark few presidential campaigns reach,” said Vernon Robinson, the Committee’s campaign director. “Achieving this goal a full 15 months prior to the 2016 Iowa Caucus shows that Dr. Carson is a strong contender for the Republican nomination.”
“This is a tremendous milestone for the committee and we are excited to be working with such great grassroots activists in Iowa,” said John Philip Sousa IV, co-founder and national chairman of the Committee. “With Dr. Carson moving closer and closer to running, it’s important that he see Americans are not only clamoring for him to run, but that they’re also willing to put in the necessary work to see him elected.”
Carson finished 2nd in the Bloomberg/Des Moines Register among likely Iowa Caucus goers’ first choice in this month’s Iowa Poll with 11%. Mitt Romney led at 17%, but he has said on record that he is not running. U.S. Senate Rand Paul had 10%, 2008 Iowa Caucus winner Mike Huckabee had 9%.
The Draft Ben Carson committee named Rob and Christi Taylor as Iowa co-chairs. They have also hired Tina Goff, a seasoned campaign veteran, to help with grassroots organizing.
Not only does Ben Carson draft committee have great grassroots organization this far out from the Iowa Caucus, but the draft committee has had impressive fundraising reports.
On their FEC disclosures submitted on 9/30/14 they report raising $10,591,448 since 7/1/2013. That is huge for an unaffiliated PAC such as this. The Draft Ted Cruz for President committee reports raising $366,392 since 1/1/2013. Affiliated PACs of potential candidates have not raised nearly as much. Huck PAC (Mike Huckabee) reported raising $1,539,418 since 1/1/2013. Sarah PAC (Sarah Palin – who has not really indicated interest in running in 2016) has raised $2,467,468 since 1/1/2013. Rick PAC (Rick Perry) launched in July and has raised $181,441. Stand Up to Washington PAC (Bobby Jindal) started earlier this year has raised $181,006. Jindal also launched a 501(c)4 – America Next where he has been able to promote his different policies. Rick Santorum’s Patriot Voices PAC since 1/1/2013 has raised $295,000. Patriot Voices also has a 501(c)4 component as well. Rand PAC (Paul Rand) has raised $2,655,235 since 1/1/2013.
This does not include campaign fundraising from those holding elected office with an established campaign committee. For instance U.S. Senator Ted Cruz’s campaign committee raised $1,641,142. and U.S. Senator Rand Paul’s campaign raked in $4,095,697.
The draft committee’s fundraising efforts and grassroots organizing efforts 15 months out from the Iowa Caucus shows a lot of interest in Dr. Ben Carson in Iowa. He definitely will have some grassroots game and can hit Iowa running should he choose to run.