What the Iowa results mean for Minnesota’s GOP caucuses

Sen. Marco Rubio waving to supporters during his speech Monday night in Des Moines.

What do the Iowa caucus results mean for Minnesota’s Republican caucuses on March 1?

For Sen. Ted Cruz, Tuesday’s winner, it means digging in even deeper with old-fashioned, precinct-to-precinct, person-to-person organizing. “This is not going to be campaign he manages through the press and sophisticated marketing,” said Brandon Lerch, Cruz’s Minnesota campaign director. “We’re calling Lake of the Woods [County], we’re calling Rock County; we are hitting every single piece of this state, going full force in the metro as well. We want everybody in to hear from a Cruz supporter as to why he is the best candidate.”

Based on his success in Iowa, Cruz and his supporters are not likely to stray from the message that he is strict interpreter of the U.S. Constitution and a rock-solid Christian conservative opposed to abortion and gay marriage.

For Sen. Marco Rubio, fresh off a strong third-place finish, Iowa’s results mean further polishing his credentials as the candidate with the most appeal to the conservative mainstream. Part of that strategy involves continuing with the game plan of becoming the preferred candidate of those who initially pledged support to Chris Christie, Carly Fiorina, Rand Paul or John Kasich. “The game comes down to the second choice — who are the survivors?” said former Republican house minority leader Marty Seifert, who’s now on the Rubio team.

“He will definitely get a boost out of these next few primaries [New Hampshire and Nevada],” which will impress legislators who have run, won and will influence caucus turnout in their districts, Seifert predicted.

Rubio’s Iowa performance made a difference to at least one state Senator, Julie Rosen, of Vernon Center, who initially supported Chris Christie. “Rubio will be my choice,” she said. “And I’d appreciate if everybody would put their support toward him because he’s very electable.”

And then there’s Donald Trump – the elephant not in the state (to paraphrase Fox News’ Megyn Kelly). While Cruz, Rubio and Fiorina stay within the lines of traditional caucus campaigning, Trump has no formal state volunteers, no contact with the Minnesota Republican Party, and, reportedly, no success in hiring a state director who could put in place any of the above. 

He’s also unlikely to visit Minnesota before caucus day, another factor considered important to a strong caucus showing. Both the Cruz and Rubio campaigns have penciled in visits from the candidates at end of February.

Political observers agree, however, that Trump will nevertheless be a factor in the Minnesota caucuses, if only to motivate rival supporters to maximize their turnout efforts.

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Comments (7)

  1. Submitted by Jim Million on 02/03/2016 - 12:23 pm.

    Nice Summary, Cyndy

    After what seemed like much Cruzing here, it will be interesting to see how Rubio does. Does anyone know if Minnesota still has any Young Republicans? One would think Rubio would be their guy, if he remains sensible and soft peddles some faith issues.

    Republican Millennials: There’s a concept worth discussing.

  2. Submitted by C.S. Senne on 02/03/2016 - 03:04 pm.

    Separation of church and state

    Mr. Mario thumped his Bible all across Iowa; every other word he spoke was “Jesus.” Not my idea of soft-pedaling faith issues. Separation of church and state is crucial to what this country stands for. And advocating that a rape victim carry the child for the rapist? This guy came in third in Iowa, yet he declared victory mimicking a Barack Obama speech. Mr. Mario comes across as a sanctimonious, sophomoric panderer who doesn’t show up for work–that would be the Senate job voters expected him to take seriously. I think they thought he’d show up to vote. But, perhaps young republicans will buy his act…

  3. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 02/03/2016 - 04:17 pm.

    It’s no longer a clown car

    Unfortunately, a clown car would be preferable. Trump is the farthest toward the demagogue end of the spectrum, based on various dictionary definitions of the term, but Cruz is not far behind, and Cruz has the additional scare factor of being a theocratic demagogue. Instead of Sharia Law, we should be worrying about candidates and a party that apparently want to turn a secular republic into Christian oligarchy, which is itself a contradiction in terms. Rubio seems nearly as much the theocrat, but perhaps a smidgen closer to the center than Cruz, who is thoroughly and unabashedly right wing. So, two of the top three in Iowa are right-wing ideologues, and the New York billionaire who came in second has little in the way of policy proposals, but plenty of ego and bloviating to provide smoke and mirrors for those bored by substance. Sigh…

  4. Submitted by Phil Dech on 02/03/2016 - 04:25 pm.

    r.e. Trump

    I do kind of wonder how he would have done in IA if he’d actually had a good organization on the ground there. I can’t imagine him doing especially well here with no visits and no ground game.

  5. Submitted by Edward Blaise on 02/03/2016 - 04:48 pm.

    Line ’em up…

    Line up Rubio, Bush, Christie and Kasich on almost all the issues that matter and that can be impacted by Presidential prerogative and their ain’t a dimes worth of difference between any of them. That gets the decision down to:

    1. New & shiny
    2. Family traditions
    3. Bluster & blather
    4. Prickly competence

    I can appreciate that the loosely hinged GOP base would select the shiniest object; but, would hope that 2 experienced, elected officials like Seifert and Rosen would see success in office as an important criteria. Apparently not. For 8 years the GOP has wailed about the neophyte one term Senator from IL in the White House and now given the choice between Kasich and Rubio, one term neophytes look pretty good to them. Go figure…

    • Submitted by Dennis Tester on 02/03/2016 - 06:10 pm.


      has set the bar pretty low, so candidates with virtually no experience can expect to be taken seriously.

      And Clinton shows her “experience” is that everything she’s touched has turned to [crap] so years of experience alone is meaningless if not a liability.

      At least the republican voter has a choice, unlike those who must accept the coronation of someone who is only out of jail because of a corrupt justice department.

  6. Submitted by Edward Blaise on 02/04/2016 - 07:46 am.

    Nice to see…

    That Mr. Tester and Jeb Bush can find common ground with their mutual affliction with Obama Derangement Syndrome and the belief that the the past 8 years are worse than the 8 years previous to them. And that is how we keep score: historical comparison between governing periods using narrative and numbers. Anyone who can fill out a scorecard showing GWB’s record as the “good old days” (as opposed to Mr. Tester’s low bar of the past 8 years) deserves Marco Rubio and will also get the chance to say: “Madam President”.

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