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Buttigieg launches county-specific digital ads in Iowa

Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Sights and sounds from Inauguration Day Biden faces tall order in uniting polarized nation OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Senate majority offers Biden new avenues on Trump environmental rollbacks | Democrats eye action on range of climate bills | Biden pushing to cancel Keystone XL pipeline as soon as he takes office: reports MORE on Thursday launched a digital ad campaign tailored to specific counties in Iowa as the former South Bend, Ind., mayor’s presidential campaign makes a full court press ahead of the Feb. 3 caucuses there.

The “River to River: Iowa for Pete” campaign includes dozens of variations of Facebook and YouTube ads featuring Iowa voters explaining why they support Buttigieg. The ads will be targeted to the counties where the caucusgoers live with the intention of spreading support to “their own friends and neighbors.” 

“Our campaign is committed to organizing everywhere — in coffee shops, at people’s doorsteps, and online,” said Kevin Groh, Buttigieg’s Iowa organizing director. “Growing support for Pete happens one conversation at a time, and some of the most important conversations we can have are within our own networks, telling our friends, family and neighbors why we support Pete.” 

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“These online ads will help us reach even more people with Pete’s message that invites everyone into the movement to defeat Donald Trump and restore a sense of hope and belonging in our country.”

The campaign comes less than three weeks before Iowa holds its first-in-the-nation caucuses, a nominating contest that historically plays an outsize role in boosting or curtailing candidates’ momentum in the primary process. 

The caucus system, which involves voters gathering in locations such as school gymnasiums for hours to collectively sift through the candidates, lends itself to campaigning on the neighborhood level to convince voters to persuade others to back their chosen candidate.

The campaign said the ads will allow caucusgoers to “hear directly from people who live in the same county as them why they’re supporting Pete’s campaign” and “bring the effective relational organizing technique and critical elements of the Iowa Caucuses that Pete for America organizers have employed on the ground to the platforms where Iowans are spending more of their time on.”

The videos feature caucusgoers speaking to the camera to explain their support for Buttigieg, often citing how his platforms impact their personal lives.

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“I am a Pete supporter because he is a supporter of public education. Pete believes we should pay teachers like doctors and respect them like soldiers,” Allison Rasmussen, a teacher in Bremer County, said in one video. “As a union member, his support of public education is very important.” 

“I’m a corn producer. Ethanol is a big thing with me. And … he wouldn’t, like our current administration has, oil men running the [Environmental Protection Agency]. We need people that understand climate so that we work for all the farmers that grow corn in the whole Midwest,” added Alvin Kobernusz, a farmer in Worth County whose family has owned its property for over 100 years. 

The first series of ads will focus on two dozen counties that flipped from backing President Obama to supporting President TrumpDonald TrumpClinton, Bush, Obama reflect on peaceful transition of power on Biden's Inauguration Day Arizona Republican's brothers say he is 'at least partially to blame' for Capitol violence Biden reverses Trump's freeze on .4 billion in funds MORE in 2016. The campaign said ads will be released in the coming weeks to dozens more counties across the state.

The campaign comes as polling shows a fluid race in Iowa, with Buttigieg locked in a top tier with former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenKaty Perry and her 'Firework' close out inauguration TV special Arizona Republican's brothers say he is 'at least partially to blame' for Capitol violence Tom Hanks: After years of 'troubling rancor,' Inauguration Day 'is about witnessing the permanence of our American ideal' MORE and Sens. Bernie SandersBernie SandersBudowsky: Democracy won, Trump lost, President Biden inaugurated Sanders's inauguration look promptly gets a bobblehead Booker brings girlfriend, actress Rosario Dawson, to inauguration MORE (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenBudowsky: Democracy won, Trump lost, President Biden inaugurated Top Senate Democrat backs waiver for Biden Pentagon nominee Consumer bureau director resigns after Biden's inauguration MORE (D-Mass.). The Real Clear Politics polling average in the Hawkeye State shows Buttigieg with 18.7 percent support, just 2 points behind Biden, who leads the pack.