IA-Gov: Best campaign list-building scheme ever?

You have to hand it to the Republican strategists behind a new vehicle that may collect tens of thousands of names and addresses for future use by Governor Terry Branstad’s re-election campaign.  

The new website Let’s Keep Wrestling! launched yesterday with this content on the main page.

Wrestling is one of the oldest sports in the Olympics, and the International Olympic Committee has put it on the chopping block for 2020.

Join Governor Branstad, Lieutenant Governor Reynolds and fellow Iowans in opposing this affront to the Olympic tradition by signaling your support for Olympic wrestling below.

Let’s Keep Wrestling!

Below there are places for people to enter their names, addresses, and e-mails, plus an announcement of a press conference scheduled to take place this afternoon in Des Moines. A link takes you to these details about the presser:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, February 14, 2013

Contact: info@governorbranstad.com

Branstad and Reynolds to launch “Let’s Keep Wrestling” campaign with Dan Gable, Terry Brands and Doug Schwab

(DES MOINES) – Gov. Terry Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds have assembled Olympic wrestling gold medalist Dan Gable, Olympic bronze medal winner and University of Iowa associate head wrestling coach Terry Brands, and University of Northern Iowa wrestling coach Doug Schwab, who represented the U.S. in the 2008 Olympics, for a news conference announcing www.LetsKeepWrestling.com, a new campaign to save Olympic wrestling that they will launch at the Iowa High School State Wrestling Tournament tomorrow.

Details are as follows:

3 p.m.                        

Gov. Terry Branstad, Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds, Dan Gable, Doug Schwab and Terry Brands launch “Let’s Keep Wrestling”

The Principal River’s Edge Restaurant

Wells Fargo Arena, Suite Level

233 Center St.

Des Moines, IA

For more information visit www.LetsKeepWrestling.com. Follow Us on Twitter at @KeepWrestling. Like us on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/LetsKeepWrestling.

For the non-Iowans in the Bleeding Heartland community: you may not realize how big a deal wrestling is in this state. The annual high school wrestling tournament draws many thousands of people to Des Moines. The University of Iowa and Iowa State University have long had among the country’s top wrestling programs, producing many Olympians. College wrestling meets sometimes draw sellout crowds on Iowa campuses.

It’s no coincidence that the International Olympics Committee’s bone-headed decision to drop wrestling beginning in 2020 produced bipartisan outrage among Iowa elected officials.

I can’t even imagine how many people will sign this keep wrestling petition. Few will notice this message in small font, way at the bottom of the website’s front page:


The Branstad campaign started 2013 with more than $1.4 million in the bank. This petition drive will greatly expand their list for future campaign communications, including fundraising blasts.

UPDATE: I had to laugh at this part of Jason Noble’s report for the Des Moines Register blog.

The campaign so far has been underwritten by Branstad’s political campaign – a move the governor said allowed him to move quickly on building the website, printing signs and t-shirts and raise awareness.

Nice try, but we all know why Branstad’s running this petition drive through his re-election campaign rather than through the governor’s office.

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