In the grand scheme of things it may not be important that Sam Clovis is the first candidate for the 2014 Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate to meet the signature requirement for getting his name on the ballot.
“But for us, it was a goal,” Clovis spokeswoman Stephanie Laudner said Tuesday. “We think it shows we have a ground game and that people are standing behind Sam.”
It was a big enough deal that Clovis, a Morningside College professor, sent out a news release trumpeting the fact that he’s collected the 3,654 signatures he needs to be on the June primary election ballot.
According to state law, U.S. Senate candidates must get signatures equal to at least 0.5 percent of the votes cast in Iowa for the party’s candidate 2012 presidential candidates. The signatures must come from at least 10 counties where they collect at least 1 percent of the votes cast for president in those counties in 2012.
For Republicans, the signature threshold is 3,645. For Democrats – because Barack Obama received more votes than Republican Mitt Romney, the signature threshold is 4,113.
For the Clovis campaign, hitting the signature mark and the fact he’s recruited precinct captains in more than 400 of Iowa’s 1,800-plus precincts are signs that the candidate is connecting with voters. More importantly, Laudner added, GOP voters who meet Clovis are choosing to back the 25-year veteran of the Air Force.
It’s part of the campaign’s effort to get its supporters to the Jan. 21 precinct caucuses. Caucuses in non-presidential election years generally don’t attract as many participants as the quadrennial first-in-the-nation presidential caucuses. For Clovis and other GOP U.S. Senate hopefuls, however, the caucuses will be an important signal of the ability of their respective campaigns to organize.
“It’s certainly not definitive, but it is an indication of who can turn out people,” Laudner said. “With all of the people in this race, that’s important.”
The others in the race include Ankeny attorney Matt Whitaker, state Sen. Joni Ernst of Red Oak, former U.S. Senate staffer David Young of Van Meter, former energy company executive Mark Jacobs of West Des Moines, and attorney and author Paul Lunde and salesman Scott Schaben, both of Ames.
Their campaigns did not immediately respond to requests for comment.