(Part-2) Trump’s campaign banks on its loyal supporters to turn out and caucus in Iowa despite frigid weather

A big win would ease the pain of Trump's 2016 Iowa loss to Ted Cruz. Trump has no idea what a caucus was. Trump campaign senior advisor Chris LaCivita often recalls Trump relaying the tale of how his daughter Ivanka arrived to a huge caucus location that year to find no one there to represent her father.

Even before Trump's presidential campaign, planning began. The team claims to have made hundreds of thousands of voter contacts, organized hundreds of training sessions, and recruited 2,300 “caucus captains” to represent Trump at caucuses and speak on his behalf. Captains, who wear gold-embroidered white caps, must recruit 10 first-time caucusgoers from campaign lists.

Meanwhile, tens of thousands of supporters attended statewide “commit to caucus” gatherings. “These were like little practice runs for actual caucus events, from a turnout standpoint, organizational standpoint, for who we’re targeting, for who we’re talking to,” said LaCivita. "These are not just pin-the-tail on the donkey."

The campaign has focused on first-time caucusgoers and educated them on the confusing procedure, where voters attend community centers and school gymnasiums at 7 p.m. and are wooed by each campaign. Trump's campaign touts additional benefits. Given his three previous campaigns, Trump entered the election with expertise, data, and manpower.

Aides emphasize that their operation is run by local volunteers and monitored by the campaign, unlike other candidates who outsource organizing. A distinction counts, said Dan Heffernen, 64, a Trump caucus leader and Altoona small construction business owner. Heffernen was skeptical of campaigns that paid organizers and didn't trust a pro-DeSantis organizer who dropped by weeks ago.

He was from Florida,” he added of the guest. I believe he was paid to come here. Although his wife, Cheryl Heffernen, a caucus captain, is close to the individuals she's attempting to organize, barely 20% to 30% of those she's spoken with plan to caucus.

Some people, I think, are reluctant to take the time,” she remarked. Many of my contacts favor Trump. Most folks I talk to favor Trump. Most do not attend caucus.” She worries about the weather and is reluctant to take her 87-year-old mother to caucus.

I don’t want her to go out, and there will be many older people like that in Iowa. It's unsafe for them, she added. “So I think the overall turnout will be less.” But Saturday morning at Trump's campaign headquarters, volunteers with plates of free pizza made phone calls in a room full with campaign placards, dismissing their fears.

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