This post has been updated
JEFFERSON, Iowa -- Sen. Ted Cruz came to this small city about 65 miles northwest of Des Moines and reminded Iowans of the short time until the nation's first voting contest.
"The Iowa caucuses are five hours away," Cruz said in a community center gym here.
The Texas Republican's campaign is banking on a painstaking turnout strategy here in Iowa, confident that its organization and analytics will carry it across the finish line Monday night. Cruz's campaign manager, Jeff Roe, said that 9,131 voters stand between Cruz and Donald Trump, who is leading polls here.
"This race is a statistical tie between me and Donald Trump," Cruz said. "It all comes down to turnout, who shows up at 7 p.m."
So as he has been pinballing from small towns on the Minnesota border to Sioux City in the west to Davenport in the east and Iowa City in between, Cruz has urged, almost begged, people to caucus for him Monday night and to convince others to do the same. Attempting a direct contrast with Trump, Cruz tells people to vote for a candidate they believe has the judgment to be commander-in-chief, one with a record of standing up to Washington.
He told a joke he's been telling all week: vote for him ten times by urging nine other people to caucus for him.
"If everyone here brings nine other people to caucus with you tonight, we’re gonna win the Iowa caucus, we’re gonna win the nomination and we’re gonna win the general election, defeat Hilary Clinton and turn this country around.”
Cruz came here to Greene County to complete what he said is a tour of all of Iowa's 99 counties before the caucus. The campaign tradition was started by Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) and is known as the "full Grassley." Cruz said he made it with about six hours to spare. But according to the Des Moines Register, he may be short, according to its public events criterion. Cruz's campaign said it sent the paper all of the stops and that the candidate did stop in all of Iowa's counties.
Des Moines Register records do NOT show Cruz stops in 99 counties. We require public access/advance notice; 2 events didn't- via @brianneDMR
— Jennifer Jacobs (@JenniferJJacobs) February 1, 2016