Iowa at the Speed of Ketchup; 2012 Candidates Slow to Put Out 'Help Wanted' Signs


You can pummel the bottom of the new ketchup bottle all you want. That thick red French Fry topping is not coming out any faster.

And that is the current speed at which top Republican operatives -- sometimes referred to here as the ‘political working class' - are being hired for the 2012 Iowa Caucuses.

It's been rare. Very few Iowans have been added to some pay-roll in order to begin the labor-intensive process of building a political organization to compete in the ‘First In The Nation' contest...which is just over a year away.

Chuck Larson is one of the lucky ones. He's shepherding Tim Pawlenty around Iowa, just like he did for John McCain four-years ago.

"I think there's a very different dynamic that's occurred for many of the candidates," said Larson. "They've run in the past. Their name I.D. is very, very high, and so they may be a bit slower to get out there this year."

Mike Huckabee, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin are household names in Iowa. It's not as though they need to introduce themselves to that coveted "likely caucus-go'er" group.

It's quite a contrast to January 31st 2007. There were six declared candidates all chasing the GOP presidential nomination and all were, in one form or another, building Iowa organizations.

"In some respects, the [2012] race is frozen until the well known people like Huckabee and Palin and Romney make clear their decisions," says Radio Iowa's Kay Henderson.

So, for folks Like Eric Woolson, they listen and wait.

Woolson was campaign manager for Huckabee's victorious '08 Iowa Caucus campaign. He's gotten phone calls from would be candidates...none of them with a job offer attached.

"I've talked to folks who've talked to candidates,"said Woolson from his West Des Moines office. "And they feel like [the candidates] are getting closer."

But the hiring log-jam might be loosening. Former US Senator Rick Santorum announced last week he had hired two Iowans for his campaign. Businessman and radio talk-show host Herman Cain is believed to be close to revealing an Iowa hire...or two.

In the meantime, Republican operatives eager to get to work in Iowa await that call.


Soon or later, the ketchup will flow.

Rick Santorum, Mike Huckabee, Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich are FOX News contributors.

Steve Brown is an author, radio broadcaster and seminary professor at Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, Florida.