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Trump speaks during a campaign rally at Drake University in Des Moines, Jan. 30. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The star guest spotted at a Sheraton in Des Moines in recent days was Elizabeth Warren's golden retriever, Bailey. But in a conference room off the same hotel lobby, Trump campaign operatives have been quietly orchestrating a massive operation for tomorrow's Republican caucuses.

Why it matters: The Trump campaign is using Iowa as a testing ground for the rest of the campaign trail.

  • It's testing its field program, bandwidth of staff and volunteers on the ground, and the efficiency of its surrogates. Trump rallied in Iowa himself last week, and roughly 80 members of Congress, Cabinet secretaries and administration officials are coming tomorrow.
  • The campaign said it recruited 2,400 volunteers for caucus efforts alone, holding 93 training sessions and making 125,000 phone calls.
  • “The caucus is a test of turnout [of volunteers, and staff],” Stephanie Alexander, regional political director for the Trump campaign, tells Axios. “This is a really, really good way for us to see how far we can get and how far our reach is with the staff that we have on the ground and the volunteers that have already committed.”

Surrogates: Top surrogates per the Trump campaign: Lara Trump, Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump, Kimberly Guilfoyle and Brad Parscale.

  • They’ll run through Trump’s greatest hits throughout different parts of Iowa, particularly the passage of the USMCA and signing phase one of the U.S.-China trade deal, playing straight to the Iowa farmers.

Between the lines: Iowa has a lot of unaffiliated voters, and the Trump campaign plans to focus heavily on voter registration, including converting independent and Democratic voters supportive of POTUS to register as Republicans.

  • It’s also the first opportunity since 2016 for Iowans to affirm their support for Trump.
  • It's also an important state for Republicans to take seriously, given GOP Senator Joni Ernst is up for re-election and the GOP is eyeing two House seats they lost in 2018.

Go deeper: Biden surrogates test electability argument ahead of Iowa clash with Sanders

Go deeper

10 hours ago - World

Over 170 Palestinians injured in clashes with Israeli police in Jerusalem

An injured man is carried away as Israeli security forces clash with Palestinian protesters at the al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem. Photo: Ahmad Gharabli/AFP via Getty Images

At least 178 Palestinians have been injured in clashes with Israeli police in Jerusalem, Reuters reported late Friday.

The big picture: The clashes come amid growing anger over the threatened eviction of Palestinians from their homes on land claimed by Jewish settlers in East Jerusalem. Tensions have also escalated in the occupied West Bank in recent weeks.

Updated 12 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus cases hit a seven-month low — Majority back vaccine proof requirements for travel, schools and work — The race to avoid a possible "monster" COVID variant.
  2. Politics: Oklahoma secures $2.6 million refund for hydroxychloroquine purchase — Why Biden's latest vaccine goal is his hardest yet.
  3. Vaccines: Pfizer begins application for full FDA approval of COVID-19 vaccine — Moderna says its COVID booster shot shows promise against variants.
  4. Economy: U.S. adds just 266,000 jobs in April, far below expectations — Americans' return to the skies could benefit smaller airlines.
  5. World: WHO authorizes China's Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use — Mixed response in Europe to Biden's vaccine patents bombshell.
  6. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.

Ohio GOP censures Rep. Anthony Gonzalez over Trump impeachment vote

Photo: Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

The Ohio Republican Party on Friday censured Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (R-Ohio) and called for him to resign for voting to impeach former President Trump in January, Reuters reports.

The big picture: Gonzalez is the latest Republican lawmaker to be punished for voting to impeach the former president on a charge of inciting the deadly Jan. 6 insurrection.