Things heated up in Iowa this week. Presidential contender Ted Cruz won the Republican caucus and the Democrats, well, there may have been a winner. Some think it was more of a tie.
The Washington Post on Jan. 26 told the story of the ground game that gave Cruz his advantage. Cruz was pulling out all the stops by providing an army of volunteers with the means to find and enable likely pro-voters to vote. When Teresa Mihaylov first set foot in the temporary housing provided for the volunteers of Sen. Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign, she was less than pleased. “I really did feel like, ‘oh my goodness, this does remind me of a dorm,” said Mihaylov.
That’s because it is one. Mihaylov is bunking at what is known as Camp Cruz, a decommissioned college dormitory where volunteers have been living while canvassing and making calls to bolster Cruz’s campaign across the nation’s first voting state, Iowa.
It’s like MTV’s “Real World” has been rebooted for a presidential campaign, except there is a lot less drinking and drama and a lot more door knocking and dialing the telephone.
It has been decades since Mihaylov has lived in a dorm with a roommate, but at the age of 56, she agreed to travel back in time a little bit, leaving her job, home and friends in Texas for a few weeks to pitch for Cruz.
“I would give it half a star, maybe a whole star,” Mihaylov said of her accommodations, which were previously home to students of the AIB College of Business.
The brick and beige aluminum-sided dorm may not be luxurious, but it is an efficient way to house those among Cruz’s more than 9,000 volunteers who have descended upon Iowa from elsewhere. Some have come from more than 1,000 miles away.
The volunteers don’t seem to mind their housing situation; they have come there for the same purpose – to fight the crucial ground war that historically determines the winner of the state’s caucuses.
They are, for the most part, completely focused on that task, said Ken Brolin, a 64-year-old who came to Iowa from Long Island and runs the dorm.
“We’ve only had a few moments where we said, ‘ladies and gentlemen, who are we representing here? Oh yes, Senator Cruz,’” said Brolin. “Then everybody stops after their second drink.”
About 60 Cruz volunteers are living in the three-story dorm and the campaign has plans to open another, with 48 beds, in the building next door.
Cruz has also opened dorms in New Hampshire and South Carolina, states that will vote after Iowa.
People sleep two, sometimes three, to a room, with someone on an inflatable mattress. The beige carpets and sofas are well worn. Campaign paraphernalia gives the place an added college feel; doors and hallways are decorated with U.S. and Texas flags and signs that read, “Fight with Cruz” or “Cruz Country.”
The schedule is brutal and the weather is cold. The volunteers gather each morning for an optional prayer at 7:45 a.m. and are briefed on their duties of the day at 7:50 a.m. There is a meeting for new arrivals at 7 p.m. each night.
The King Ahab was riding in his carriage; lordly pompous and high-toned when he came across the prophet Elijah.
The monarch looked out upon the prophet as he walked alongside Ahab’s carriage and said, “Art thou he that troubleth Israel?” The prophet turned and, pointing his finger at the crowned sinner, replied, “I have not troubled Israel, but thou and thy father’s house, in that ye have forsaken the commandments of The Lord and thou hast followed Balaam.” [1 Kings 18:17]
The Presidential Primary
You must be registered as a voter on or before Feb. 15 to vote in this Presidential Primary. You can only vote in the party primary of the party that you are registered to vote in. You can’t jump into someone else’s primary. If you need to re-register to vote for the candidate of your choice, do it on or before Feb. 15.