Marco Rubio's opponents have been searching for a flaw in his ascendant campaign, and they think they've found it: a supposedly subpar field operation for getting out the vote.
The Florida senator has executed among the more strategic, disciplined, and at least to this point, successful campaigns of the 2016 presidential cycle. There are legitimate concerns about the strength of the Republican's voter turnout operation, and whether it can compete with his rivals in Iowa on Feb. 1 and in the three early voting states that follow. But Rubio's organization doesn't appear as unprepared for the coming ground war as his opponents had hoped.
That positive assessment was shared with the Washington Examiner this week during multiple interviews with GOP Insiders in Iowa and other states, including Rubio supporters and neutral players. Tom Mitchell, a member of the Woodbury County GOP executive committee, told the Examiner in late October during an interview in conservative Sioux City that he believed Rubio's Iowa field operation wasn't receiving due credit. Mitchell, who hasn't endorsed in the primary, said his opinion hasn't changed.
"There are certainly other campaigns that are better organized, but he's certainly not very far behind in that regard. People that think that are underestimating him," Mitchell said Thursday, when reached by telephone. "He's got some good people that he's hired on the ground, but also some strong people that have endorsed him."
Rubio, 44, has propelled himself into the top tier of a crowded Republican primary through sharp communicating, winning debate performances, deep knowledge of foreign and domestic policy and adroit campaign strategy. He runs anywhere from second to fourth in a group of top contenders that includes polling front-runner Donald Trump, the New York billionaire and reality television star, retired pediatric neurosurgeon Ben Carson and Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas.