Sanders campaign relying on volunteers in Iowa

Published: Jan. 27, 2020 at 5:50 PM EST
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The Iowa caucuses are just a week away. But because of the impeachment trial in Washington, Sen. Bernie Sanders is not spending as much time as he would like on the campaign trail during the homestretch.

While he's leading in the polls in Iowa, we wanted to find out how his absence may impact his success there.

Our Adam Sullivan is in Des Moines where the Sanders campaign is relying heavily on volunteers to turn out supporters.

Sanders was in Iowa all weekend making multiple stops. But he hopped on a flight back to Washington, D.C., Monday morning. That means in the last week before the caucuses, the Sanders ground game is full steam ahead.

The cellphones are going nonstop at the Bernie Sanders field office in Des Moines and nearly two dozen other offices across Iowa as thousands of Sanders volunteers encourage Iowans to caucus for the candidate on Feb. 3.

"It was one of those things that was kind of daunting for me at first because I personally wouldn't respond well to someone knocking on my door or somebody calling me, but that almost makes me better at it because, you know, I get it," said Owen Geiken of Des Moines.

From the phone banks to the pavement-- meeting voters face to face is another big part of the job.

"I do think that knocking on doors is the most effective means to bring people out," said Chase Stell of Atlanta, Georgia.

Stell is only in Iowa for a couple of days.

"I bought some boots and getting out in the snow and they are like, 'Wow, this guy is actually dedicated,' this is a big deal," Stell said.

Sanders has been surging in the polls in both the early voting states and nationwide. Iowa, the first caucus state, will set the tone when the voting actually begins.

"I've been meeting people from all over the country. Lots of Iowans, I've been in many communities. We work morning until night and it's been incredibly exciting," said Patty Healey of North Hampton, Massachusetts.

It's a ground game that has become even more important for the Sanders campaign. The Trump impeachment trial is keeping the senator in Washington. So, it's up to the volunteers to get out the supports and convince those who have yet to make up their minds.

"I think that is why I am still undecided because it feels like such a big responsibility and have this on our shoulders. It's just so hard to choose a candidate," said Lindsay Timmons of Des Moines.

"It's an exciting role to play," said Robert Bailey of Des Moines. "It's going to be crazy this year because we have so many candidates. We are estimating that we will have over 600 people at our caucus site. Once we get through all the organizational headaches, I think it will be very successful."

This past weekend, while Sanders held rallies, volunteers knocked on a staggering 130,000 doors. I'm told the senator will likely not be back here until Friday.