Warren travels country to build primary momentum

Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenJoe Biden lost his fastball — can he get it back before South Carolina? Where the 2020 Democrats stand on taxes Budget hawks frustrated by 2020 politics in entitlement reform fight MORE is sticking out in the Democratic field by spending a considerable amount of time campaigning across the country — rather than focusing her efforts on Iowa, New Hampshire and the other two earliest voting states.

Warren’s travels have taken her to many of the states voting on next year’s Super Tuesday on March 3, 2020, as well as to some states voting after those primaries and caucuses.

The trips include visits to more than 20 states — such as Alabama, Utah and Colorado, which are all Super Tuesday states. She’s also visited Puerto Rico, which won’t hold its Democratic Primary until June 7, 2020.

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This spring, she traveled to states including West Virginia, where she gave an address on opioid addiction, a huge issue in the state. Its primary is on May 12.

The effort is part of a broader organizing strategy that Warren aides and allies say will help her campaign set itself up for Super Tuesday and beyond next year. 

“Every single day we organize across the country as we lay the groundwork to have a large movement of grass-roots supporters that will own a piece of this campaign and be in the fight with us,” said Chris Hayden, a Warren spokesman.

One aide said Warren is benefiting from “mini interactions” with thousands of voters across the country that could help her win the nomination. 

To date, Warren has hosted 109 town halls with 494 audience questions, aides on her campaign say. She has also taken more than 37,000 selfies with those who attend her rallies, the aides note. 

Warren has been on a roll, surging in polls, raising $19 million in the second quarter and winning plaudits from Democrats for her policy rollouts. She led one poll of Iowa voters after the first Democratic debates, when she appeared the night before former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenJoe Biden lost his fastball — can he get it back before South Carolina? Where the 2020 Democrats stand on taxes Bloomberg hits Sanders supporters in new ad MORE and several of her other chief rivals.

Supporters are hopeful that she could be on the verge of a breakthrough at the second set of debates later this month. 

Even people who are not supporting her campaign are taking notice.

“She’s doing things like this and rolling out policy plans and getting huge fundraising numbers,” said one major Democratic donor who is not in her camp. “She really is running the best campaign.”  

Aides for other campaigns have also privately acknowledged that the Massachusetts senator has built a solid campaign with its 300 aides in headquarters and in early voting states. 

One major reason she has the time to focus on her organizing efforts, her aides say, is because she isn't driven by high-dollar fundraising and instead is able to drive her platform with policy rollout events. Those campaign stops have allowed voters to get to know her.

“Elizabeth's decision to forgo high-dollar fundraisers and call time means that she can build a grassroots movement by meeting with voters one at a time, face to face,” Hayden said.

Many of the Democratic candidates are focused on Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada, the first four states in the contest. 

“They’ve been incredibly creative and really smart about this,” said Adam Parkhomenko, a Democratic strategist who has a background in organizing, including on Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonThe Democratic demolition derby Juan Williams: Don't count Biden out Candidates in Obama's orbit fail to capitalize on personal ties MORE’s 2016 campaign. “This is a very crowded race. and little things make a big difference. And when you understand that organizing does move the needle, it separates you from the others in a big way. 

“People always make the claim that they’re focused not just on the key states but states across the country, but for her, it’s not just a talking point,” added Parkhomenko, who isn’t backing anyone so far in the nomination fight. “Anyone who's running a campaign knows that an hour of someone’s time is better than a dollar.” 

In the 2008 race, Clinton was caught off guard after Super Tuesday when Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaA Presidents Day perspective on the nature of a free press Juan Williams: Don't count Biden out Candidates in Obama's orbit fail to capitalize on personal ties MORE began to win a string of races. Clinton’s aides later admitted that one of the reasons their campaign lost the race against Obama was because they planned to win all the early states and lock things up by Super Tuesday. 

“In the end, it meant that Obama could stick with her the whole time and then even squeak by her,” said Cal Jillson, a political science professor at Southern Methodist University. 

Jillson said Warren is very clearly “laying her traps downstream.” 

“She seems very strategic about it,” he said. 

Other candidates have also made stops in non-early states. 

On Thursday, Biden delivered a foreign policy address in New York. Sen Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisConway: Trump is 'toying with everybody' by attacking Bloomberg for stop-and-frisk comments The Hill's Campaign Report: New challenges for 2020 Dems in Nevada, South Carolina Beleaguered Biden turns to must-win South Carolina MORE (D-Calif.) — who has also seen momentum since her debate performance last month — has also held campaign events in the Big Apple. 

Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersJoe Biden lost his fastball — can he get it back before South Carolina? Where the 2020 Democrats stand on taxes Bloomberg hits Sanders supporters in new ad MORE (I-Vt.), another top-tier candidate who is a rival to Warren for progressive voters, has spent some time in Super Tuesday states. 

“It says a lot about where you are in the campaign,” Jillson said in sum. “Leading candidates with full-blown operations and top fundraising can afford to do it.” 

“And if they’re very well-organized, they’re getting names and contact information in the selfie lines too,” he said.