Iowa: When the Flavor of the Month turns Permanent

Iowa: When the Flavor of the Month turns Permanent


Dear Mitt Romney:

As a wise man from Monster’s Inc. once said: Now is the time to PANIC!

For the longest time I have been one of those many voices out in pundit-land proclaiming Mitt Romney the Republican Presidential nominee for 2012.

He is the most qualified. He lines up best out of a crowded GOP primary field against President Obama in hypotheticals.  And, yeah: he would probably do well amongst independents.

As one flavor of the month after another has popped up (and since the August Iowa Straw Poll FIVE different candidates have led in the polls, Bachman, Perry, Romney, Cain and now Gingrich), myself – along with most other political observers – assumed that these were temporary bubbles that would all be subsumed by the inevitably unexciting Romney coronation.

Now, I’m not so sure.

According to a recent article in Politico about the ground game in Iowa it is a lot more competitive than many outsiders believe which could make the state ripe for an upset.

I have long held the belief that even if Gingrich was leading in the polls he didn’t have the ground team in Iowa to really win the caucus there, considering that Romney has been camped out in Des Moines since 2008. However the piece suggests that Romney has been taking the state for granted, and has alienated local activists by not making more public appearances. Mind you the Gingrich campaign only has one physical office in Iowa, which is not nearly as impressive as Romney.  But, at the same time, Primary/Caucus voters are self-motivated and don’t need nearly as much GOTV prodding as do general election voters. If that holds true, and Newt holds up, Romney’s team might want to standby on those coronation invitation mailers.

Dr. Jason Johnson, Politic365 Chief Political Correspondent, is a professor of Political Science at Hiram College in Ohio and author of the book Political Consultants and Campaigns: One Day to Sell. You can read more at or follow him on Twitter @Drjasonjohnson