First in the Nation

Nicole Schlinger Iowa

Being an Iowan is awesome.

We have the great distinction of kicking of the presidential process with the historic Iowa Caucuses.

Nicole Schlinger Iowa Caucus
photo courtesy of Catch Des Moines

I’ve had the honor to work on several caucus campaigns and look forward to this time of year.

Nicole Schlinger impeachment Ted Cruz statementMitt Romney Nicole Schlinger

If you live in Iowa, I hope you’ll join me in attending the caucuses tonight as we kick off the nomination process and build our party for the future.

You can find your GOP caucus location here. 

Happy caucusing!


Caucus Flashback

I’ve been spending some time recounting the history of CampaignHQ in my updates about selling our original building.

Mitt Romney Nicole Schlinger

I recently stumbled upon a couple of articles from The Des Moines Register, written by Jennifer Jacobs in 2011 that I thought would add more color to the storyline of what was happening for our organization during that time.

This article features Mitt Romney and his time in Iowa at that point. 

Many of my friends are featured in that article – like David Kochel, Christopher Rants, Jill Latham-Ryan, Doug Gross, Gentry Collins and the list goes on.

This is a write-up Jennifer Jacobs did when I signed on with the Time Pawlenty campaign.

Speaking of Jennifer Jacobs, she is now the Senior White House correspondent for Bloomberg News. She is always breaking news and continues to be a fair and dedicated reporter. You can follow her Twitter feed for many updates.


Thanks for reading,

Nicole Schlinger, President of Campaign Headquarters

Nicole Schlinger

Barnstorming Romney

In the winter of 2007, Romney was barnstorming Iowa like no other candidate. We were taking RSVPs for dozens of “Ask Mitt Anything” events all over the state.

But he wasn’t the only one. We were still raising money for Congressman Latham and now Congressman Steve King. We were still setting appointments for State Legislators.

So how do you handle RSVP’s for many candidates coming into a single toll free number?

You change your name.

No matter which event or which candidate you were calling for … if you were greeted with a cheery “Campaign Headquarters” … you called the right place.

So that’s how the name Capitol Resources got chucked out the window and replaced with CampaignHQ.

When the Romney campaign ended in early 2008, it would have been easy to go back to the same old grind. House parties. Appointments. But once David Kochel makes you see something, you can’t unsee it. We kept on doing what we’d always done, but on the side we were building the new business.

2008 was a rough year. I stopped taking paychecks again. Barack Obama was elected President, and the Tea Party movement was about to begin.

2006 – Campaign in a Box

A defining feature of Iowa campaigns in 2006 was the constant presence of 2008 Presidential hopefuls. While traveling the state in support of our ticket, they could actively recruiting activists, elected officials, and staff.

Mitt Romney was king amongst the “non-candidates” in 2006, attending more events for more candidates than anyone else.

Mitt Romney Nicole Schlinger

At one such fundraiser in Burlington for Congressman Jim Leach, I was cornered by David Kochel and Gentry Collins.

I won’t forget what Kochel said. “You could do a lot more than this.” He called it a Campaign in a Box. We would use our calling crew to drive turnout for events which I would plan and execute. This would give the campaign we signed up for a huge advantage by holding events from which they could build their organization of county chairs and precinct captains. This would culminate in the largest event of all, the Iowa Straw Poll. Putting the people on the bus would be just like putting the butts in seats at a State Party dinner.

This was shortly after Bill Dix’s primary loss. And it was the first time ANYONE had painted a bigger picture for me, had pulled back the curtain to say there’s a bigger world out there and you are good enough to be in it.

It was the first time my head peaked up over the wall of Iowa politics, to see a tiny little glimpse of what CampaignHQ could eventually become.
So while it’s a little embarrassing in retrospect to say I was too head down, too buried in house party after house party, every night giving out nametags in a different town, to see this was not the mountaintop. I’m glad David Kochel did.

On Election Night in 2006, Jim Nussle lost the race for Governor to Chet Culver. Jim Leach lost to Dave Loebsack. And Republicans lost control of the Iowa House.

And I signed up with Mitt Romney right before Thanksgiving. Campaign Headquarters was born.


Fun Friday – Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day is on Sunday (you’re welcome), so I thought it might be fun to take a look at some seriously great moms.

Nicole Schlinger Abigail Adams

I mean, check out Abigail Adams. Raised and educated five kids (including a future president), single-handedly ran the family’s farm and was active in the equal rights movement and the abolition of slavery.

Nicole Schlinger George Washington

Mary Ball Washington managed a 600-acre farm plantation and raised six kids and the very first president of the United States.

Nicole Schlinger John Boehner

Did you know, Mary Anne Boehner raised 12 (12!) kids and slept on a pullout couch in the family’s two-bedroom home?

Nicole Schlinger Barbara Bush

Note only was Barbara Bush First Lady, championing several noble causes, she raised a President and a governor.

Nicole Schlinger Marco Rubio

Oriales Garcia Rubio grew up in Cuba, sharing the one-room house with a dirt floor with her family of nine. She moved to the United States with humble beginnings and raised a successful family, even after her husband died.

Nicole Schlinger Mitt Romney

Of course we know Leonore Romney as the wife of the governor of Michigan and mom to a presidential candidate, turned U.S. Senator. But the actress and mom of four ran for the U.S. Senate in her own right in 1970.

Who’s your favorite political mom?

Thanks to all the great moms out there who are getting it done every single day, not just on Mother’s Day.

Thanks for checking in,