Uphill Struggle Would Await Another Hart “Guerrilla” Campaign With AM-Hart Bjt
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) _ Gary Hart launched his 1984 presidential drive with an anti-establishment campaign in Iowa, but he would be hard-pressed to repeat the success of that earlier effort, former supporters and others say.
However, they don’t dismiss his chances.
″He’s going to run a guerrilla campaign,″ said George Appleby, who backed Hart in 1984. ″The party is making him an outsider. ... I think he really can run a campaign that way.″
″Sure, he’s got a shot at it,″ said Steve Lynch of Lawler. ″He can exist and go on without a well-structured organization. He’s already got the name.″
Hart was a long shot in 1984 until he finished a surprising second to Walter F. Mondale in Iowa, supported by 16.5 percent of the Democrats attending the state’s caucuses to Mondale’s 48.9 percent.
That showing energized Hart’s campaign and he went on to defeat Mondale in New Hampshire and eventually finish second in the Democratic field.
The key to Hart’s strong Iowa showing was a no-frills campaign propelled partly by ″Van Force One,″ a nickname handed Lynch’s battered 1978 van. The van hauled Hart from farm town to farm town.
However, there are fundamental differences in the 1988 campaign, partially because of the success Hart had in 1984, said Phil Roeder, a spokesman for the Iowa Democratic Party.
″He ended up getting a very good reception in rural parts of the state, largely because everybody else ignored those areas,″ Roeder said. But he noted that other Democratic candidates have stumped hard in rural Iowa this time.
″Gary Hart wrote the chapter on how to win the caucuses in rural Iowa,″ he said. ″The problem Hart may face in 1988 is everybody has read that chapter.″
Roeder added, ″Last time his guerrilla operation was staffed and funded. He spent several hundred thousand dollars in Iowa, which is a lot different than the nuts and berries campaign he’s talking about now.″
″It was pretty cost-effective, just driving up and down the roads, and it got him right down to the people,″ said Barb Grabner, who worked for Hart in western Iowa in 1984. ″That’s what he said he wants to do this time.″
″I had sort of committed to someone else,″ Ms. Grabner said. ″But I’m going to wait and see what happens.″
″I wish he wouldn’t have gotten back in,″ she said.
Lynch’s van, which has logged 113,000 miles, now works for Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis. But Lynch hasn’t locked Hart out.
″I’m taking it one day at a time. I want to know what’s going on in his (Hart’s) campaign. I’ve been talking to as many people as I can,″ he said.