The Democrats' "ground game" can still save Braley
The race to replace retiring Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) is going to be close. How close remains to be seen. Joni Ernst is ahead. The polls differ as to her margin, but it's clear that it's not big enough to inspire much confidence.
The situation is pretty much as described in the article: the GOP has by far the better candidate. In fact, Ernst is indeed one of the "breakout stars" of the party; if she wins next month, she's going to be a national figure and possibly a presidential candidate some day. She leads in the polls. She has the momentum. She has run an excellent campaign while her opponent has repeatedly dropped the ball. The voters like her, and don't like her opponent.
And she still might lose.
The Democrats- as we learned to our sorrow two years ago- have an excellent "ground game" here in Iowa. The labor unions and various radical groups that thrive in this state produce a steady supply of volunteers. They are well-used by party professionals that know their business.
Republicans, on the other hand, are still learning theirs. the Project ORCA computerized election day debacle two years ago was as big a disaster here as it was nationally. Somehow the Iowa GOP is going to have to put together an election day operation that can compete with the entrenched and well-organized special interests that make up the Democratic state organization.
It's going to be tough. I learned long ago, working against the Daley Machine in Chicago, that winning elections is at least as much about doing a better job of getting your voters to the polls as it is about convincing the voters that you have the better candidate. Everything can either come together or fall apart on Election Day, depending on the "ground game."
Joni Ernst ought to win this thing. If she doesn't, it will be because the Republicans in Iowa have once again been our-organized and out-worked. I, for one, will be working the phones for Joni.
I just hope and pray that we can out-work the Braley people. Even though we have the better and more popular candidate, we're going to have to no less if America is going to get the benefit of a future political superstar- and (Deo volente) perhaps our first woman president.
HT: Real Clear Politics