URBANDALE, Iowa -- Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson now has the largest number of donors of any candidate in Iowa -- putting him ahead of Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton -- just as the retired neurosurgeon rose to the top of the GOP field in recent polling in the state.
Ryan Rhodes, Carson’s Iowa state director, said the campaign’s organizational ground game has aided in Carson’s major fundraising haul.
“It’s just a testament to how many small donors and people are getting involved,” Rhodes explained.
Iowans have contributed $153,000 to Carson’s campaign through Sept. 30, according to the most recent Federal Elections Commission report. He has now out-fundraised Clinton’s campaign, which has received $111,600 in contributions from Iowa voters.
“When you get hundreds of volunteers out to do things and when you continue to build that, you start getting an organization that is tough to compete with,” Rhodes said.
A Des Moines Register/Bloomberg Politics Iowa Poll out this week shows Carson is in first place in the early primary state with a nine-point lead over business-mogul-turned-presidential-candidate, Donald Trump.
While Carson's campaign only has six paid staffers in Iowa, Rhodes acknowledges the volunteers have really made an impact.
“While we run very lean here, we have a lot of people involved and so many hands make light the load,” he said.
Rhodes attributes the campaign’s success to a unique strategy: traveling to parts of the state that other candidates haven’t visited on the campaign trail.
“We’re going and doing things like at the pumpkin patch,” Rhodes said. “We have made more of an effort to get to other places where other people aren’t necessarily going to be, because if you’re walking into an area where there’s five candidates or a bunch of people you have to compete for that. We are able to go to places and kind of be the lone competition.”
Carson’s wife, Candy Carson, has also been taking a more active role in the campaign in Iowa. She has hosted several events, including one at an apple orchard, and has been part of Carson’s recent book tour.
“It’s nice to have her here because people get to see the candidate, see his wife, and it’s all together something that Iowans love," Rhodes said.
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