Donald Trump just fired his campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, an unpopular figure among reporters and even in some pro-Trump circles. The person who interviewed Eric Branstad to run Trump's Iowa operation is no longer with the campaign either, O.Kay Henderson reported for Radio Iowa today. But Governor Terry Branstad is all in for the presumptive GOP nominee:
“I’m certainly going to do all I can. I think people know me well that I’m not a shrinking violet,” Branstad told reporters. “I tend to be one that gets proactively involved and I certainly intend to in this campaign, as I have in the past.”
Branstad had hoped Trump would consider Senator Joni Ernst to be his running mate, but Ernst told reporters on June 16, "Nobody has reached out to me" from the Trump campaign. Unnamed Republican sources told Politico's Eli Stokols and Burgess Everett that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich top the VP short list, with Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama "a distant third" and Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin "also in the mix."
Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton's campaign plans to spend at least $1.2 million on television advertising in Iowa during June and July. According to NBC's Chuck Todd, Mark Murray, and Carrie Dann, Clinton will spend $568,000 to run spots in the Des Moines market, $427,000 in the market covering Cedar Rapids, Iowa City, Waterloo, and Dubuque, $155,000 in the Omaha market, and $37,000 in Ottumwa/Kirksville, Missouri. After the jump I've enclosed the video of the first three general election ads the campaign is running in Iowa and seven other battleground states. One 60-second spot, similar to commercials run here before the Iowa caucuses, recounts Clinton's decades-long advocacy for children. A separate 30-second spot focuses on her efforts to expand health insurance coverage for children. The final 60-second spot highlights the contrasting styles of Clinton and Trump, shown saying at rallies, "I'd like to punch him in the face" and "Knock the crap out of him, would you?", along with the notorious clip mocking a reporter with a physical disability.
Public Policy Polling's latest Iowa survey showed Clinton leading Trump here by 44 percent to 41 percent. The Democratic candidate's favorable/unfavorable numbers were 42 percent/55 percent, which would not be promising except that Trump's ratings are even worse: 33 percent favorable/64 percent unfavorable. That poll did not ask respondents whether they approved of Branstad's work as governor.
UPDATE: Added below Branstad's comments on Trump's proposed ban on Muslims entering the country.
From a Hillary for America press release on June 16:
Hillary for America Begins Airing New TV Ads on Clinton's Lifelong Fight for Children and Families
Hillary for America will begin airing new television ads on Thursday in eight states focusing on Hillary Clinton's successful record of fighting for children and families. The ads, entitled "Always" and "Quiet Moments," will run in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio and Virginia.
The ads trace Clinton's career-long dedication to helping children, from her work at the Children's Defense Fund getting disabled kids out of the shadows and into schools to her success as First Lady in joining with Republicans and Democrats to pass the Children's Health Insurance Program, which covers eight million children. "For Hillary, it's always been about kids," one ad says, while affirming Clinton's belief that families and communities are stronger together when children have access to better schools and health care.
The ads are part of an eight-figure, initial six-week television buy that will lay out the choice voters face in this election between Hillary Clinton who has spent her life fighting for families and children and Donald Trump who has always put himself first. The series of ads includes the previously announced ad, "Who We Are," which also begins airing on Thursday.
For more on Hillary Clinton's record on the Children's Health Insurance Program click here.
Here's "Quiet Moments":
Here's "Who We Are," the contrast ad with Trump:
UPDATE: William Petroski reported for the Des Moines Register on how Branstad responded to a question about Trump's proposal to stop Muslims from entering the country.
Branstad, a Republican who receives a monthly intelligence briefing from public safety officials, replied, “Donald Trump is not the enemy. ... The enemy is radical Islamic terrorists that want to kill us. Different people have different ideas on how to combat that."
"I think what Donald Trump is doing is saying we need to take this threat seriously," said Branstad, whose son, Eric, is managing Trump's Iowa campaign. " ... We are trying to do what we can at the state and local level, but we as a nation have to be aware of the real threat; the fact that we have a whole cadre of people throughout the world who are committed to this Islamic radical ideology that says that if you don't share our viewpoint, then we are going to kill you."
Branstad, when pressed whether he supports Trump's plans to prohibit Muslims from entering the U.S., replied, "First of all, I think it is a little more nuanced than that. What he has said is that those from terrorist nations are the ones that we ought be focused on. I am concerned that the federal government is not sharing information with us about people who are coming from those terrorist nations that may be placed in our states. I don't want to put Iowans at risk. "
SECOND UPDATE: Erin Murphy included more of Branstad's comments in his report from Monday's press conference.
“He’s excited about getting involved in it," the governor said of his son. "It’s certainly a different campaign than we’ve ever seen before.”
Aside from hiring Eric Branstad as state director, the Trump campaign has not made any visible organizational moves in Iowa, which most election projectors expect will be a tossup state in the general election.
Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, meanwhile, has hired Iowa campaign staff. [...]
“It’s a nontraditional campaign that he’s run (so far), and I’m sure will run,” Branstad said. “But I think he’s going to bring in some professionals that have been through campaigns before that can help him in doing this.
Trump's Federal Election Commission report covering the month of May shows that his campaign lacks the money to beef up its staffing. Matea Gold and Philip Rucker reported for the Washington Post on June 21,
New campaign finance reports showing that Trump had less than $1.3 million in the bank heading into June ignited fears that the party will not be able to afford the kind of national field effort that the entire Republican ticket depends on. [...]
The billionaire developer increased his line of credit to the campaign by just $2.2 million last month — the smallest amount he has shelled out yet this year — but Trump said in a statement Tuesday that “if need be, there could be unlimited cash on hand as I would put up my own money.”
Such a move would effectively amount to abandonment of the Republican National Committee and the rest of the GOP ticket, which relies on the presidential nominee to help raise hundreds of millions to fund a national field organization for the fall elections.
GOP strategist and fundraiser Austin Barbour said Trump’s dismal fundraising efforts “could have a devastating impact” on the Republican Party generally.
“If they don’t fix this in a massive way, it’s going to have widespread implications down the ballot. It just is,” Barbour said. “If he’s not raising hundreds of millions of dollars, there are gubernatorial races, Senate races, congressional races, attorney general races, you name it, that will be impacted. Those races are dependent upon get-out-the-vote efforts from the RNC and the presidential campaign.”
Last month, the New York Times' Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns contacted more than 50 top Republican donors and found,
More than a dozen of the party’s most reliable individual contributors and wealthy families indicated that they would not give to or raise money for Mr. Trump. This group has contributed a combined $90 million to conservative candidates and causes in the last three federal elections, mainly to “super PACs” dedicated to electing Republican candidates. [...]
Among the party’s biggest financiers disavowing Mr. Trump are Paul E. Singer, a New York investor who has spent at least $28 million for national Republicans since the 2012 election, and Joe Ricketts, the TD Ameritrade founder who with his wife Marlene has spent nearly $30 million over the same period of time, as well as the hedge fund managers William Oberndorf and Seth Klarman, and the Florida hospital executive Mike Fernandez. [...]
Among the more than 50 donors contacted, only nine have said unambiguously that they will contribute to Mr. Trump. They include Sheldon G. Adelson, the casino billionaire; the energy executive T. Boone Pickens; Foster Friess, a wealthy mutual fund investor; and Richard H. Roberts, a pharmaceutical executive. Mr. Friess wrote in an email that Mr. Trump deserved credit for inspiring “truckers, farmers, welders, hospitality workers — the people who really make our country function.” [...]
Charles G. and David H. Koch, the country’s two most prolific conservative donors, are not expected to back Mr. Trump, and their advisers have been scathing in private assessments of Mr. Trump’s candidacy and his policy agenda.