David Carney, a veteran Republican strategist here, has received six phone calls at his Hancock, N.H., home from Donald J. Trump’s campaign the last few days. But five came after the Trump volunteers were told that the occupants were backing another candidate: Mr. Carney’s wife is Carly Fiorina’s campaign director in the state.
For Mr. Carney, who has often praised Mr. Trump’s message, the wayward calls signaled impressive grass-roots enthusiasm. But they were also a telltale sign of strategic rudderlessness.
“They have a lot of volunteers and they’re proud about that, but volunteers is not a ground game,” said Mr. Carney, who was the top strategist for Rick Perry’s 2012 presidential race and has been deeply involved in studies of how campaigns use information about voters. “They’re basically just picking up the phone book.”CNN reports:
On the cusp of the New Hampshire primary, there are growing questions about GOP front-runner Donald Trump's ground game in the state even as he maintains a double-digit lead against rivals.
An email sent out to supporters on January 30th called on them to "Talk for Trump Today!" and listed call centers across the state in four field offices, and four public meeting spaces.
At one hotel -- listed as a call center -- a receptionist told CNN one Trump staffer and about three volunteers showed up throughout the day. At two of the restaurants listed, employees told CNN they weren't aware of any campaign activities that day.
In the months leading up to the primary, Trump has eschewed conventional wisdom that has had other candidates camped out in New Hampshire for months. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Ohio Gov. John Kasich are staking their campaigns on success in the state, and Trump has held around one-quarter of the events as each of them.Nicholas Confessore and Sarah Cohen report at The New York Times:
Donald J. Trump once boasted that he could someday be the only person to turn a profit running for president. He may be closer than anyone realizes.
Mr. Trump’s campaign spent just $12.4 million in 2015, according to disclosures filed with the Federal Election Commission, millions less than any of his leading rivals for the Republican nomination. More than half of Mr. Trump’s total spending was covered by checks from his supporters, who have thronged to his stump speeches and bought millions of dollars’ worth of “Make America Great Again” hats and T-shirts.
About $2.7 million more was paid to at least seven companies Mr. Trump owns or to people who work for his real estate and branding empire, repaying them for services provided to his campaign. That total included more than $2 million for flights on his own planes and helicopter, a quarter of a million dollars to his Fifth Avenue office tower, and even $66,000 to Keith Schiller, his bodyguard and the head of security at the Trump Organization.