Anita Kumar explains why Hillary Clinton is spending so much money so early in the campaign:
In the last three months, the campaign held 3,874 one-on-one meetings with potential supporters and signed up 11,869 volunteers in the four early states. It hosted 323 meetings attended by more than 11,000 people in the non-early states.
That effort has cost big bucks. Clinton spent more money on the massive organizing effort than anything else in the last three months, according to her campaign. Details of the $45 million she’s raised and how she’s spent money so far will be released Wednesday by the Federal Election Commission.
The campaign is frugal in some ways. Staff, for example, do not have business cards and use their personal cellphones. But the campaign has spent big to organize both on the ground and online, costs that could have been pushed off until later, aides say. It paid in full for early state voter files, bought digital ads to recruit supporters and hired large digital, analytics and tech teams to help with targeting, organizing and fundraising, they said.
Clinton seems determined not to repeat the mistakes of 2008, when she virtually ignored the difficult grassroots efforts required in smaller states, and instead concentrated on winning the “air war” in the big headline primaries.
It seems virtually impossible for Bernie Sanders, Martin O’Malley, Jim Webb, or even Elizabeth Warren to match Clinton’s ground game. Clinton could suffer some big embarrassments early on in Iowa and New Hampshire, but South Carolina will be her firewall, her big “comeback” story after lowering expectations in the first two bouts.
It’s OFA all over again, and if you think her early primary efforts might translate directly to the general election — I’d say you’re right on the money.