Although most of Iowa’s national delegates are poised to support Ron Paul at the RNC convention, Mitt Romney’s campaign shows little concern about the situation. During their first conference call with Iowa supporters since before the first-in-the-nation caucuses, Romney’s staff essentially declared the nomination process over.
“We really have our caucus-to-convention process in selecting the nominee in the rearview mirror,” said Romney state chairman Brian Kennedy. “It’s time for us all to come to together to defeat Barack Obama.”
The Romney campaign has ignored Iowa since placing a close second in the caucuses. While the former Massachusetts governor was winning primaries around the country, the Paul campaign focused on electing their supporters to delegate positions. Their hope is that, although Ron Paul is incapable of winning a single state at the ballot box, they can win a floor battle at the RNC convention.
However, the Romney campaign seems content to ignore Paul. Romney now holds more than 660 bound delegates, according to TheIowaRepublican.com’s count. 1,144 are required to capture the nomination.
Ron Paul was never mentioned during the half-hour conference call Tuesday evening. However, Rick Santorum and Barack Obama came up several times. To help win over conservatives still leery about Romney’s moderate leanings, the Romney campaign hired Santorum’s national campaign director, Mike Biundo, to handle coalition building. Biundo implored listeners on the conference call to email him with the names of any Santorum supporters who still had misgivings about supporting Romney, so that he can talk directly to them.
“Rick gave me his full blessing,” Biundo said. “I’m happy to be part of the team. Everybody understands that the primary process happens…but now it’s time to come together, as Rick said last night, for a common purpose to defeat Barack Obama in November.”
Iowa is considered one of nine crucial swing states in the presidential election. President Obama, the First Lady, and Vice President Biden have already made Iowa a common stop on campaign trail. Romney’s new state director Jill Neunaber says the former Massachusetts governor will make similar efforts.
“I want to underscore how important Iowa is to us,” Neunaber said. “It’s long been a swing state and it’s one we expect to play a large part in determining who the next President of the United States will be. You’re going see a lot of Mitt, a lot of Mrs. Romney, and a lot of surrogates. We plan on having a full-scale grassroots program here.”
“The polling that’s been out shows it being very competitive in Iowa,” said Romney advisor David Kochel. “Look at their schedule. They know Iowa will be a battleground state. It seems like Obama’s here every other week.
Neunaber said the Romney campaign plans to work directly with the RNC’s Victory operation. She also announced that Ryan Gough will manage Iowa’s Victory operations. Gough was the Victory director for the Polk County office during the 2010 campaign. Since then he has been employed by the Republican Party of Iowa. Neunaber also said they plan to open Romney’s Iowa headquarters in the Des Moines area within the next few weeks.
Photo by Dave Davidson, Prezography.com
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