DES MOINES — For five days, the royal-blue bus rumbled through miles of cornfields alongside a popular annual bicycle trek across Iowa. It showed up at a country music concert in Cherokee and at a bacon festival in Ottumwa.
And when the hulking vehicle with thick white block letters that spell “TRUMP” pulled into a Wal-Mart parking lot in Fort Dodge this week, people flocked to it. It didn’t matter that Donald Trump wasn’t inside. The bus alone — with the “Make America Great Again!” slogan extending across its sides — created an irresistible oasis of celebrity politics amid a desert of minivans and shopping carts.
“One hundred people showing up for a staffer? I’ve never seen anything like it,” said Chuck Laudner, a longtime Iowa organizer who oversees Trump’s efforts here. “They kept saying the same thing: They want something different.”
The groundwork laid by Trump’s sizable Iowa staff, with 10 paid operatives and growing, is the clearest sign yet that the unconventional candidate is looking beyond his summer media surge and attempting to win February’s first-in-the-nation caucuses.
This is becoming a cause of concern for rival campaigns.
“I see them as a major threat to all the other campaigns because of the aggressiveness of their ground game,” said Sam Clovis, an Iowa conservative who leads former Texas governor Rick Perry’s campaign.
“You cannot swing a dead cat in Iowa and not hit a Trump person,” Clovis continued. “It’s unlike anything I’ve ever seen… Every event we go to — the Boone County Eisenhower Social, the Black Hawk County Lincoln Dinner, the boots-and-barbecue down in Denison — the Trump people are everywhere with literature and T-shirts and signing people up. (read much more at Washington Post)
Read the full write-up by Philip Rucker and Robert Costa HERE