POLITICS
01/24/2020 11:00 EST

Elizabeth Warren Is Ready To Move Past The Early States

Her campaign now has 1,000 staffers on the ground in 31 states, according to a new memo.

Ivan Alvarado / Reuters
Banners for Democratic 2020 U.S. presidential candidate and U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) are placed at a Warren's campaign office in Indianola, Iowa, U.S., January 23, 2020. REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado

The presidential campaign of Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren has hired 1,000 staffers in 31 different states, including some that won’t cast ballots until early April, according to a new memo from her campaign manager, Roger Lau.

The hires reflect the Warren campaign’s plan for a long fight ahead to collect the more than 2,000 delegates necessary to win the Democratic nomination to challenge President Donald Trump. But they will also cause head-scratching among Democratic operatives who have questioned the Warren campaign’s decision to build significant operations in later states when her continued presence in the race may rely on victories in the early voting states of Iowa and New Hampshire.

“Our immediate goal is to secure the close to 2,000 delegates necessary to win the Democratic nomination,” Lau wrote in the memo, which was sent to supporters on Friday morning. “For the last 13 months we have built and executed our plan to win. We expect this to be a long nomination fight and have built our campaign to sustain well past Super Tuesday and stay resilient no matter what breathless media narratives come when voting begins.”

Public polling shows that Warren is in striking distance of winning Iowa, but significantly trailing Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders in New Hampshire and former Vice President Joe Biden in Nevada and South Carolina.

Lau barely touched on those four early-voting states in the memo, spending only two sentences discussing them. While Warren has built extensive organizing operations in Iowa and New Hampshire, she is spending far less on television ads and other paid media than her competitors for the nomination, instead dedicating those dollars to organizing in states later in the electoral calendar.

The memo extensively discussed the Warren team’s efforts to organize volunteers in states voting on Super Tuesday and beyond, specifically noting that the campaign already has “several hundred organizing staffers” on the ground in states that vote between Super Tuesday – which is on March 3 – and early April. (Roughly 40% of the delegates to the Democratic National Convention will be awarded by Super Tuesday.)

“We knew that this primary process was never going to be easy,” Lau wrote in the memo. “We also know that you can’t just stand up an organization overnight or buy your way to the nomination. While billionaires may be able to buy their way into the conversation, it will be a broad, grassroots effort and organization that delivers the Democratic nomination.”

Warren has often criticized billionaire media mogul and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg for the more than $100 million he has spent on his campaign for the Democratic nomination so far. That spending has allowed Bloomberg to skip the early states, which place a heavy emphasis on retail politics and voter interaction, a move Warren has called undemocratic.

Warren’s operation is now extensive enough that it’s easier to list the states where she doesn’t have staff than the states where she does. States without staffers on the ground include Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Maryland, West Virginia, Kentucky, Indiana, Louisiana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Montana, Wyoming, Idaho and New Mexico. Lau said the Warren campaign will have staffers in all 50 states by mid-April.

He also elaborated on the campaign’s plan for the general election, saying that Warren will keep her campaign offices in Iowa and other states up for grabs in November open after the primaries end.

“For states that will be part of Elizabeth Warren’s path to victory in the Electoral College, it’s especially critical that we don’t lose momentum or stall the infrastructure after the primary has passed when we have a chance to keep building for the even bigger contest in November,” he wrote.