Elections

Cruz Campaign Bets On New Hampshire Ground Game To Beat Expectations

Kerry Picket Political Reporter

MANCHESTER—The [crscore]Ted Cruz[/crscore] campaign is optimistic that it will shake up expectations on New Hampshire’s primary Tuesday.

The Real Clear polling average for the New Hampshire GOP primary shows Cruz in third place with 12 percent, while [crscore]Marco Rubio[/crscore] is in second and has 16 percent. Trump leads the pack with 30.7 percent.

Former New Hampshire Republican Sen. Bob Smith, a Cruz campaign ally, expressed full confidence about the campaign’s ground game overcoming present poll expectations.

“I’m not knocking polls. They were wrong in my case in 1996, when they said that I lost. I think what we’ve been doing is knocking on doors,” Smith told The Daily Caller. “We’ve been ID’ing voters who are leaners, people who are not sure, and we’ve been knocking on thousands and thousands of doors for literally months and I’ll tell you it feels good out there.”

Smith says it is a tradition in New Hampshire to be on the ground and meet people. “And that’s what Cruz has been doing now for several weeks. I’ve been on the bus with him all this week and a week or so a go, he was up for another five-day bus trip,” he said.

“He was meeting two three four hundred people one night. 1300 people at stop after stop after stop. So he’s met thousands of voters here one on one,” said Smith.

“And then when you go to these meetings or these rallies, it’s not Donald Trump with 5,000 people, but I would rather meet 5,000 in 15 or 20 stops where you get to interact than 5,000 people that you’re speaking to,” he explained. “It’s different It’s the interaction people like here, which is why the term rubber stamp is so appropriate here.”

Cruz surrogate Steve Lonegan, a New Jersey Republican activist, agreed with Smith telling TheDC Saturday night, “It’s over a 100 people right now. I think we have more than any other candidate. Our headquarter phones are going non-stop. We’re setting up 40 satellite offices in people’s homes and around the state for election day to get out the vote. So this campaign is superb about building a grassroots movement and so we will outperform people’s expectations.”

The Cruz campaign’s volunteers include college students who often stay at the dormitories of Chester College, a now-closed school.

“I came up this Friday but I was up a couple of weekends ago, so I’m going to stay here until the primary,” said Kareena, a 19-year old student at the University of Rhode Island.

Kareena, like many of the students working on the campaign, are phone banking and door knocking for the first time on a political campaign.

“A lot of people are receptive to what we have to say and even if they’re not they’re really respectful. People in New Hampshire—I think they’re used to all these phone calls, so they know how to handle it. A lot of people are very receptive, which is great for us,” she said.

Kareena explained, “I usually just ask them if they’re interested in Ted Cruz and, if so, if they plan on voting for him. I ask them, if there is any political matter or any issues that has come up in the media that they would like me to answer for them or get someone else in the campaign to answer for them and usually they ask a few questions about policy matters and I try my best to answer and I direct them to the website if they want anymore information.”

Additionally, during door knocks, volunteers use a smart phone app called I-360. The application, Kareena says, is targeted to independent voters and people interested in Cruz.

“We go door to door, and we have walk books for different cities in New Hampshire, so it’s really great. It’s incredible. You don’t have to carry around a bunch of papers and clip boards. So it’s really convenient,” she said.

Fellow Cruz volunteer Mary Brown, an 18-year-old from the University of Tulsa, also enjoys door knocks.

“It’s fun to see the different areas of New Hampshire. It’s kind of like phone banking. You get a lot of different answers. It’s kind of really exciting when you see someone with a Ted Cruz sign or ted Cruz sticker,” she says.

Sen. Smith lauded the door knocking operation the Cruz campaign put together in the Granite State.

“I feel very confident based on the ground game—the resources we have, the money we have. We have one of our supporters who has knocked on 5,000 doors and he’s from the Meredith area and he’s a rock star in our organization,” Smith said.

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