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Gingrich scrambling before Iowa caucus

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Unread 12.17.11, 04:57 PM
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Gingrich scrambling before Iowa caucus

12.17.11 12:22 PM

DES MOINES, Iowa, Dec. 17 (UPI) -- Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich is struggling to put together the organization experts say he needs to win the Iowa caucuses next month.

With the caucuses rapidly approaching, Iowa State junior Jeremy Freeman is working toward finding a Gingrich backer for at least 12 more of Story County's 43 caucus sites, the Los Angeles Times reported Friday.

Recruiting "somebody who can get up there in front of people and speak will be very difficult," said Freeman, the Gingrich campaign chairman in Story County.

A Republican Party official once said the key to success in Iowa is to "organize, organize, organize, then get hot at the end," but it seems Gingrich has left the organization out until the last minute, the report said.

Gingrich's campaign office in Iowa just opened this month and has placed fewer than 25 Gingrich representatives in the more than 100 precincts in the Des Moines area.

Yet, not all super-organized candidates win in Iowa. Mike Huckabee took the caucuses in 2008 by tapping into existing networks of home-schoolers, Christian evangelicals and their pastors.

"Did we have the best organization Iowa had ever seen? No," said Chip Saltsman, Huckabee's national campaign manager. "But we had a great grassroots organization of volunteers in all 99 counties."

Eric Woolson, who ran Huckbee's Iowa campaign, said he built his operation over several months.

"It was a heck of a lot longer than three weeks," said Woolson, who now works for Michele Bachmann's presidential campaign. "Organization is important. It's extremely important to have a strong ground game."

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