UPDATE - Sadly, the event on Lawrence O'Donnell has to be rescheduled. When I know I will post.
Hello all. After driving more than 1,000 miles from Arlington VA I arrived in Ames yesterday to volunteer for Christie Vilsack in her campaign against Congressman Steve King in Iowa's 4th Congressional district.
There is a lot going on in and around Ames and elsewhere in the district, to which I will get momentarily. I am posting this as I gobble lunch - a vegan sandwich from Wheatfields cooperative natural foods grocery, which is next door to the building housing the Story County Democratic Party's field operations, in which are based the campaigns both of Christie Vilsack and the local operations for Obama.
The big news of the day is two-fold. Gov. Chris Christie is in town to support King. And Christie is scheduled to be on The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell tonight - I do not as yet know which time block, although I believe it will be in the first half hour.
This is the first of what I hope to be a series of diaries during the time I am here - which will be through one week from today before I drive back East.
So far, besides the normal phone banking that is a major part of volunteering on any political campaign, I have helped to put together yard signs for both Obama and Vilsack, worked on a joint campaign mailer including a local legislative race, and am now working on a mailer with applications for voting by mail being sent with a personalized letter from Christie to people with whom the campaign has been in touch. There will be a manjor Obama push this weekend for early voting, and in Iowa one can register through October 27, which means that Dems can make a major effort to register students at Iowa State U, based here in Ames.
Please keep reading.
This campaign has national visibility. For Tea Party types, King is one of their heroes. For Dems, it is hard to imagine a Congressman more despised - except perhaps Allen West of FL. Because Romney desperately wants to win Iowa, he has been out here and endorsed King. And of course Christie Vilsack is the wife of former Iowa Governor and current Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack.
DISCLOSURE - which I will continue to make: the Vilsacks are personal friends, which is why I have driven almost halfway across the country to volunteer. The campaign found me a place to stay - I have the use of a house of supporters who are way for the wedding of their son, about a ten minute drive away.
On Saturday i will be driving 90 minutes north for an event in Mason City where Christie will be joined by MN Senator Amy Klobuchar.
If Mason City sounds familiar, perhaps you are a music fan. It was from a flying company in Mason City that Buddy Holly chartered a plane for himself, J. D. Richardson and Richie Valens after a concert at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake to take them to their next destination, Fargo ND. In the early morning hours of Feb. 3 1959 the plane crashed, killing all aboard, the event known as the night the music died, and commemorated in Don McLean's epic song "Bye, Bye, Miss American Pie."
Some quick notes about the campaign.
I am unaware of any recent public polling. I do know that Republicans admitted last week that King's lead was down to single digits and the anecdotal evidence of internal Republican polls is that he is also under 50%, dangerous territory for a 10 year incumbent.
Vilsack has some very experienced hands involved with her campaign. I have a prior relationship with the campaign manager, Jessica Vanden Berg, who ran Jim Webb's successful campaign against George Allen 6 years ago, and who is herself a native Iowan.
There are people in the headquarters making phone calls from 10 AM until 9 PM.
The Story County Democratic Party will be doing a sign blitz - this weekend tons upon tons of signs will be put up. I know the impact that can have: around the time Creigh Deeds got the Washington Post endorsement for the Democratic nomination for Governor in 2009, around 10,000 signs were put up in NoVa overnight. That had a huge visual impact. Driving around Ames there are currently very few signs up for either candidate.
As I post this, it is just before 3 PM.
One last note. Expect to see Christie engage with this community shortly. In that she will be following her husband's example, since Tom posted here several times more than 6 years, beginning in 2005, as you can see by his user page
Hope the information here is useful to people.
Christie is a good person.
She will be a wonderful Congresswoman.
Watch her tonight on Lawrence.
And if you can, how's about kicking in some financial support? This is already an expensive contest.