Ankeny, Iowa is a suburb of Des Moines. During the Iowa campaign, Marco Rubio reportedly was so focused on Ankeny that rival campaigns joked he was running for town mayor.
But Rubio knew what he was doing. His surprising and relatively strong third place finish in Iowa stemmed in no small part from the margins he ran up in the Des Moines suburbs.
Now, according to James Hohmann of the Washington Post, Rubio is taking his Ankeny strategy to the suburbs of Minnesota’s Twin Cities. The idea is to ride the suburban vote to victory in Minnesota (which holds its GOP caucuses next Tuesday), or at least to a decent showing and the accumulation of some delegates.
The Rubio campaign is taking a similar approach in other Super Tuesday states. He is focusing on voter-rich metropolitan areas around Denver, Atlanta, Nashville, Little Rock, Birmingham, and Boston.
In Minnesota, Rubio has the backing of popular elected officials and former officials. Former Governor Tim Pawlenty has endorsed him, as have Reps. John Kline and Erik Paulsen. Former Senator Norm Coleman switched from Jeb Bush to Rubio when Bush bowed out of the race on Saturday.
Rubio also has the backing of our own John Hinderaker, whom Hohmann quotes in his article:
John Hinderaker, an influential conservative blogger who backs Rubio, explained that Twin Cities suburbs like Edina and Eagan were once reliably red, but they’ve become much harder to win in the fall. (Richard Nixon was the last Republican to carry Minnesota in a general election.)
“Marco is the kind of candidate who could do well in these traditionally Republican areas that are now swing areas,” Hinderaker explained last night as he commuted home to the St. Paul suburb of Apple Valley from his day job as a lawyer downtown [note: John, of course, is now a think tank executive, having retired from the practice of law in December].
“My wife and daughters love Rubio. They can’t stand Ted Cruz. There’s a lot of people like that. … I think Marco is conservative enough to appeal to hardcore Republicans, but he’s got a little bit of a broader appeal that will play well with suburban women.”
Substitute the words “like somewhat” for “love,” and John has described my wife and one of my daughters. (We too live in the suburbs of a major metropolitan area, Washington, D.C., though certainly not a typical one.)
Rubio’s Ankeny strategy probably isn’t going to produce a strong overall Super Tuesday showing. But it may keep him above water while he pursues his other strategy — waiting for his non-Trump competitors fall by the wayside.