Many were surprised when in 2008, Obama took the Iowa caucuses. Traditionally, the person who takes Iowa, the first caucuses of the election cycle, has the best chance of winning the presidential bid for president in the general election.
This time around, President Obama supporters aren´t taking any chances. In fact, the Rev. Al Sharpton has announced he will open chapters of his National Action Network (NAN) in Iowa. “With the 2011/2012 election cycle about to be in full swing, it is important for civil rights and social justice issues to be in the forefront of the dialogue. Iowa is a key state for Democrats and NAN wanted to make sure that our voice is heard,” says Sharpton spokesperson Rachel Noerdlinger.
A win in Iowa will put Obama ahead of other Democrats in the run, giving him a major campaign boost. “The main purpose of the offices (one in Des Moines and one in Waterloo) will be to mobilize organizers around key issues like education, employment, immigration and more. NAN has aligned with local clergy and other grassroots organizations to get out key messages and provide voter education,” says Noerdlinger. “The offices will help rally progressive community members who believe in social justice.”
Obama has reached out to Sharpton on several occasions, including to help Obama maintain support in the African-American community. Sharpton, in fact, has visited the White House at least five times since Obama took office. And in Iowa, Sharpton looks to rally support for the president.
“NAN looks forward to having a political presence in Iowa with the primaries approaching and build a network as we unveil some of his public policy goals for the next round of elections,” says Noerdlinger.
NAN is a not-for-profit, civil rights organization founded by the Reverend Al Sharpton in New York City in 1991. The organization addresses social and economic injustice and is headquartered in Harlem, New York, and currently has more than forty active chapters nationwide.