In Early States Like Iowa, Clinton Plans to Run Hard

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) -

Hillary Rodham Clinton is expected to run a primary campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination focused on the four traditional early-to-vote states, forgoing the chance to parlay her dominant position into an early start in the swing states key to the general election.

Data-driven grassroots organizing in states such as Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada, along with fundraising, will be the focus when Clinton launches her presidential campaign, probably in early April, according to people familiar with the strategy. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss internal planning on the record.

The approach aims to take little for granted while capitalizing on the fact that three of the states — all but South Carolina — are also campaign battlegrounds.

“I have no doubt that she will run hard in Iowa, whether or not she has competition in the caucuses,” said Bonnie Campbell, a former state attorney general and Clinton supporter. “Iowa is a competitive state in the general election, so time spent here is time well-spent.”

Democrats say the former secretary of state has yet to begin building state organizations in fall campaign battlegrounds such as Florida, Ohio, Virginia and Colorado, but the national focus is on raising money. The campaign is beginning to assemble a stable of fundraisers for a race likely to exceed the more than $1 billion President Barack Obama raised for his 2012 re-election. If Clinton announces in April, her campaign would be required to release its first fundraising report in July.

Clinton has struggled with criticism in recent weeks over her use of a private email account at the State Department and whether she skirted transparency rules. A CNN poll released Monday found that about half of the public said Clinton did something wrong by using the personal system and half said she did not. The poll found that 46 percent thought Clinton’s explanation was enough while 51 percent felt she had not done enough to explain her actions.