Alex Moe/NBC News
Newt Gingrich headquarters in Urbandale, Iowa.
DES MOINES, Iowa -- It may be nearly Christmas Eve, but its also just 11 days before the Iowa caucuses - an event that may make or break a candidacy for some of the Republican candidates seeking their party’s nomination.
So what are their campaigns doing while many other Americans are preparing for the holidays? Working.
At the campaign headquarters of each campaign in the Hawkeye State on Friday, it was hard to tell Christmas was just two days away. It wasn’t just the worker bees laboring away trying to reach caucus goers, the big bosses of the state operations were present as well.
The only candidate in the state on Friday was Michele Bachmann, who wrapped up the first leg of her 99-county bus tour. Her campaign headquarters in the Des Moines suburb of Urbandale was still bustling with workers miles from where the bus tour was taking place.
Eight paid staffers including Bachmann’s Iowa campaign manager, Eric Woolson, were inside the office space making calls to their county chairs and finalizing her upcoming Iowa schedule.
“You have a very finite deadline and there are only so many hours left,” Woolson told NBC News about working this close to the holidays. “We are really at the point where every minute counts. We want to respect folks around the holidays - but we also want to make sure we get our ducks in a row.”
Ron Paul’s headquarters in Ankeny – just outside of Des Moines – also seemed to be utilizing every last minute until the Jan. 3rd caucuses. They had at least 10 workers doing “typical campaign stuff” according to the man who opened the door but was not allowed to speak with or let media inside. The Paul office had a wreath on the door, a Christmas tree near by and a menorah sitting in the window.
The Newt Gingrich campaign was not only busy working at the headquarters in Urbandale where 8 staffers were seen on conference calls and working on computers, but the campaign also opened it’s 4th office in the state today – out in Blackhawk County.
“We’re 11 days from caucus - it’s all hands on deck. The country runs 365 days a year,” Gingrich Iowa staffer, April Linder, told NBC News. “We’re not taking anything for granted - were going to work to get every voter out for Newt.”
It was Rick Santorum’s office that appeared to have the most hands-on work going on mid-day Friday. A large Christmas tree with cards to the staff and the former Pennsylvania Senator greeted people as they entered the office just a couple buildings over from the Gingrich campaign. Nine people were at work making phone calls to Iowans and putting together mail packets for caucus precinct captains in various rooms inside. Another handful of volunteers was expected at the office in the early afternoon to help, as well.
Alex Moe/NBC News
Workers at the Rick Santorum headquarters in Urbandale, Iowa.
Mitt Romney’s Iowa team in downtown Des Moines was also typing away at computers into the later hours of the afternoon Friday. Seven people could be seen inside the former Blockbuster video that now serves as the campaign’s headquarters.
Rick Perry’s headquarters in West Des Moines only had two people (plus one who was out at lunch) inside working as large tables with letters and envelopes to be stuffed sat empty.
Romney and Gingrich held events today in the other early states of New Hampshire and South Carolina. Both return to Iowa next week for bus tours across the state, along with Perry and Bachmann.