Update: Check our Primary Calendar page for a full list of when states vote next year. February 5, 2008 looks decisive at this point. As we state below, we will have a fuller analysis of the implications of the calendar next week. [Please Note: we are beginning a rollout of the pages listed on the left hand side column. The Hillary Team page is also up as of today. We hope to post the other pages by the end of next week.]
A lot of noise generated today because of a campaign memorandum called An Alternative Nomination Strategy.
The memo details how the campaign calendar has profoundly changed this year with many more states holding early primaries. The memo futher suggests that because of the changed circumstances pouring additional resources into the complicated and expensive Iowa caucuses might no longer be a wise investment.
First of all, Hillary is scheduled to campaign in Iowa for the next three weekends. The campaign has 10 offices in Iowa and is hiring additional staff.
Additionally as Politico reports, Hillary is scheduled to attend the Iowa Democratic Hall of Fame Dinner next weekend. Hillary along with Biden, Dodd, Edwards and Richardson will be there but not Obama. Politico writes
“The Iowa State Democratic Party’s spokeswoman, Carrie Giddins, meanwhile seized the moment to stress her state’s importance and — why not? — take an oblique shot at Obama for skipping the Hall of Fame Dinner: Iowa is more important than ever in this election cycle. Iowa has seen the highest level of political activity at this early point in history. Biden, Obama and Edwards will be here this weekend, and so will Senator Clinton. And next weekend she will join Senator Biden, Senator Dodd, Senator Edwards and Governor Richardson for the first major caucus event of the year at the Iowa Democratic Party Hall of Fame Dinner in Cedar Rapids. Bypassing Iowa would be a fatal mistake for any campaign to make,” said Giddins, in a statement.”
Iowa might or might not be as important this election cycle as in previous election cycles. The primary calendar is still changing and the effects of those changes will be profound (We will be posting more about how the calendar is affecting candidate chances significantly, next week). Intelligent campaigns need to assess the calendar continously. We would be disappointed if this type of analysis was not happening – frequently.
The memo makes some strong points advocating for more attention and money to other states. Should the campaign invest over 70 days of campaign time and tens of millions of dollars in Iowa? The memo states the first four primary states, which includes Iowa, will produce 137 delegates to the Democratic National Convention which will vote for the Democratic nominee. Soon thereafter 2205 delegates will be chosen from other states. The memo also points out that 15 states with early voting and mail in voting will have ballots cast before Iowa.
Iowa has been very very important in previous election cycles (since Jimmy Carter won the caucuses but particularly in 2000 and 2004) but will it be important in 2008? This is an important question with no easy answer right now.
We believe it is too early to make final decisions on where to put in valuable campaign time and hard earned campaign dollars. We do believe that smart campaigns think about these matters.
Keep thinking and strategizing Hillary Team.