Estimated read time: 4-5 minutes
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Elizabeth Warren says she has more than 1,000 campaign staffers in 31 states and 100-plus field offices, a show of organizational strength her campaign promises will lift her to the Democratic presidential nomination and hurt President Donald Trump's chances in key battlegrounds in November.
The Massachusetts senator vows that her campaign will be organized in all 50 states and seven U.S. territories before the Democratic National Convention in July. In the meantime, it's looking beyond Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina, which open the primary, and “Super Tuesday” on March 3 when more than a dozen states vote.
“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,” Warren campaign manager Roger Lau wrote in a memo released Friday to supporters offering “Our Roadmap to Win."
It explains how the campaign will clinch the nearly 2,000 Democratic delegates needed to secure the party's presidential nomination and notes that Warren has already traveled to 30 states and Puerto Rico while building “what even rival campaigns acknowledge is the best organization on the ground.”
Warren's bet is that a far-reaching organization can insulate her against poor performances in the early states, while giving her built-in momentum if she does well. But it also could be risky, since having so many staffers is expensive, and enthusiasm and fundraising could dry up if she doesn't meet early expectations.
Polls show Warren bunched among the primary front-runners with former Vice President Joe Biden, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana.
Still, the memo says Warren's goal is to win her party's nomination, beat Trump, hold Democratic-control of the House of Representatives, retake the Senate and even flip some key state legislatures heading into redistricting, when congressional maps will be redrawn based on the 2020 census.
That's why Warren says she'll leave staffers in place and field offices open in Iowa after its Feb. 3 caucus, and do so after other general election toss-up states have voted in the primary, hoping for a head start against Trump in November.
Warren's campaign is out to build “a critical mass of support in more than enough states to foreclose any path to an Electoral College victory for Donald Trump," the memo said. It noted that if Trump is denied the popular vote victory in 2020 like he was in 2016, "he'll join John Quincy Adams and Benjamin Harrison as a one-term president who lost the popular vote on the way in and lost it again, even more badly, on the way out.”
Lau said Warren has “had more than 100,000 one-on-one conversations with Americans" during a year of campaigning, referencing the famous “selfie” pictures Warren supporters line up and wait for after nearly every one of her events — even really large ones.
The memo notes that the first four states account for 155 delegates, or about 4% of the total. Super Tuesday has 1 ,357 delegates, or about 34% of those all up for grabs.
Post-Super Tuesday states, including Michigan and Florida, account for 1,091 delegates, or about 27% of the total, while April to June states like New Mexico and Wisconsin account for 1,376 delegates, or about 35% of the total , it says.
The memo also says that, since last fall, Warren's campaign has been “putting staff on the ground in critical Super Tuesday states." Warren's campaign is also hoping to focus on states that vote between Super Tuesday and the beginning of April, saying it has “several hundred” organizing staffers in places like Alabama and Washington state and “by mid-April, we will have organizers on the ground in the remaining states, completing the full map.”
That assumes her candidacy can make it that far, of course, but “We're only just getting started,” Lau wrote.
Catch up on the 2020 election campaign with AP experts on our weekly politics podcast, “Ground Game.”