Jeb! A Campaign Staff Perspective
Located just east of Valley West Mall sits Republican presidential candidate and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush’s Des Moines office. Hidden along an ordinary strip of offices, the “Jeb! 2016” posters line a small office suite. One wall had a large red cutout of “Jeb!” with individual exclamation points for supporters to write why they are “#allin for Jeb.” The opposite wall, adorned with the Iowa and U.S. flags, proved just how important the Bush campaign views Iowa.
Kyle Radon, a Bush field representative, was training a Jeb volunteer on how to do a voter contact call. Iowa Director Annie Kelly said the office location was picked to be in West Des Moines because “it’s 15 minutes from everything.” Mike Thom, deputy Iowa director, said, “They also were willing to do a month-to-month lease, where most locations want two years up front.”
Kelly and Thom both have substantial previous campaign experience, including working for Tim Pawlenty’s 2012 presidential bid in Iowa. “Most the staff is a mix of in-state Iowans and out-of-state campaign experienced workers,” Kelly said. The campaign is currently focusing on garnering large numbers of volunteers and getting out “Jeb’s record to Iowans,” made evident by the amount of campaign literature scattered throughout the office.
When asked about why Iowa is valuable to the campaign Kelly said, “Iowans are some of the most informed voters and pay attention year-round.” Jeb will be in Iowa again next week and the team is gearing up for another Iowa visit.
Borchardt is a junior studying political science and law, politics, and society from Litchfield, Minnesota. This summer he interned in the office of U.S. Senator Al Franken (D-MN) and was the recipient of the Harkin Institute D.C. Experience Scholarship. He enjoys politics, Minnesota sports and playing his guitar.