RCP reporter Caitlin Huey-Burns asks Jeff Kaufmann, the Iowa Republican Party chairman and Jennifer Horn, the New Hampshire Republican Party chair about the most important endorsements in these early 2016 states.
CAITLIN HUEY-BURNS, REALCLEARPOLITICS: We are several months out from when voters start to weigh in. I think we will see different influential people whether in politics or involved the grass roots level start to weigh in. in Iowa and New Hampshire, who are some of the people who can help shape this election? Do indoors been as much weight nowadays? And if you could tell us who can kind of influence how this shakes out?
JEFF KAUFMANN, IOWA REPUBLICAN PARTY CHAIR: Any of our elected officials at the federal level are potentialsâ€“ I mean Chuck Grassley is not just a senator out here, he is a beloved icon. Grassley has not been in the habit of endorsing, but certainly his endorsement would be the golden ring.
We have a governor that within the year will be the longest-serving governor in the United States history, Brandstad. His endorsement is crucial. And our new senator, Joni Ernst still has a rock star status. We have three golden rings, in terms of endorsements here.
I am not sure if other endorsements matter. When I was a legislator, I was sought out, as were my colleagues, for those endorsements. I am not sure beyond a group of immediate people, how much impact that has. We in Iowa, so many of our rank-and-file grass roots are used to shaking those hands, looking in the eye, and making up their mind. I don't know that endorsements are that crucial.
JENNIFER HORN, NEW HAMPSHIRE GOP PARTY CHAIR: I actually would agree with Jeff on that. Folks like Sen. Kelly Ayotte, Congressman Frank Ginza, Governor Sununu or Benson, these folks are the big names in our state that may or may not choose to get involved and endorse candidates in this primary.
The endorsements that matter -- we have 400 state house representatives who are unpaid ,and make $100 a year to cover their gas. They are the activists who frequently have the biggest influence on the direction of the vote.
Those five or six hundred activists who will be volunteering on the campaign are the ones out there doing the hard work of sending the message. Those of the folks in New Hampshire who quite honestly make a difference. They are the ones who would decide which direction this goes. We certainly have a whole class of political operatives in our state. And it's interesting to see which candidates higher which consultants or which folks to execute ground games, but in the in the outcome is going to be decided by hundreds of activists, grass root level folks, as they decide which campaigns to get involved in.