These people are REALLY ready for Warren

01:52 - Source: CNN
These people are REALLY ready for Warren
Des Moines, Iowa CNN —  

Ground zero for the grassroots effort here to persuade Elizabeth Warren to run for president is headquartered in a small office park where a yard sign taped to a door is the only marker of the activity inside.

One recent weekday afternoon, about 20 volunteers gathered to strategize about how to convince their friends and neighbors – and most importantly the Massachusetts senator – that she needs to run for the Democratic presidential nomination.

“They say who’s Warren?” retiree Gordon Rowe said about the reaction he receives when he talks up the Massachusetts senator. “They don’t know who Elizabeth Warren is. I tell them they need to get involved, they are middle class too and they need representation.”

It is the term “middle class” that is repeated time and time again when talking to Warren supporters: she understands the middle class, she represents the middle class, she will help rebuild the middle class. The belief that Warren is fighting for them on issues such as income inequality and regulating Wall Street is the driving force behind their effort to try and draft her into the race – even though she repeatedly has dismissed it.

READ: Could Warren-mania hurt progressive Democrats?

“We totally take Senator Warren at her word right now,” said Blair Lawton, Iowa Field Director for the Run Warren Run campaign. “We know that right now she’s not running and if she was, we wouldn’t have a reason for a draft campaign like this. Really, me and my staff’s goal everyday is to show her that she has got support all across the state and a path to victory.”

That includes holding meetings to teach volunteers grassroots political techniques, setting up phone banks to call Iowa Democrats, and having Run Warren Run representatives attend small Democratic meetings across the state.

Beth Farvour, a Run Warren Run regional field director, attended one such meeting on a Saturday morning in Tipton. In the basement of the courthouse, Farvour staffed a table with literature and signs and addressed the 40 or so Cedar County Democrats to explain why she thinks the Massachusetts senator is the best candidate for the Democratic nomination. Farvour, who spoke before headliner Martin O’Malley appeared, was politely received as were the representatives trying to make similar cases for Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. It is still early in Iowa and Clinton is still the frontrunner.

The Run Warren Run campaign is being funded by, which has pledged to spend $1 million on the effort and Democracy for America, which has chipped in an additional $250,000. In Iowa, the campaign has eight staff, who travel the state promoting her candidacy. Run Warren Run also has staffers in New Hampshire.

At this time, Warren’s supporters – almost to a person – will not address the unthinkable: that the Massachusetts senator will stand by her word and not run for the White House.

“I think we can get her in the race,” said Katie Freerksen, a veterinarian technician, who started volunteering three months ago. “I think we are capable of it, because this has grown so much since I have gotten involved.”

Toria Pinter, a law student who is on medical leave, said that she was drawn to Warren because of the senator’s vocal call to lower the interest rates on student loans. Pinter said people should not misconstrue this campaign as anti-Clinton effort, but rather a pro-Warren movement.

“The campaign is not about Clinton,” she said. “That’s not what we are here to talk about. We are here to talk about Warren and how important she is to us. Because she embodies the ideals and issues that are important to us at the end of the day.”

Lawton said even if Warren decides not to run, he believes there are some long-term benefits from this campaign including “putting a big investment into the progressive community.”

“I am confident every day if we do our job we get her to enter this race,” he said. “But also, you know, other goals, as well, on top of getting her to run: I want to make sure every time a campaign comes in we are leaving the community in a better place. So really what we are doing right now, by getting volunteers involved and training them we are really helping to build the progressive movement across the state of Iowa.”