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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.

Peace.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (32+ / 0-)

    "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

    by teacherken on Thu Sep 20, 2012 at 12:04:52 PM PDT

  •  Thanks for the update. It's all about the House.. (7+ / 0-)

    politics is, indeed, local - but  IA's 4th district is a canary in the mine.  

    A second-term Obama, with the Senate will look different depending on whether the house is blue, red, or purple.  This is a big election for the dems, especially given the 2014 Senate Map.

    •  When Christie Vilsack Wins (7+ / 0-)

      She'll be the first woman from Iowa elected to the Congress.

      1. Corporations control our democracy and do not have our interests at heart;
      2. The media is not neutral -- and not blameless;
      3. Ordinary people have extraordinary power.

      by MooseHB on Thu Sep 20, 2012 at 01:32:27 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  She needs to open it up a little more. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Lujane, sciencegirl

        The 7 layer salad commercial isn't going to do it. The people of the district need to be reminded over and over that his extremely racist and other ugly verbal diarrhea he spews are not "says what we might be thinking", as his commercial says. He's worried, he's blanketing the DM media with a bunch of commercials that make him out to be Mr. Rodgers, not the rapid right wing mental hospital escapee that he truly is.

        Iowans are NOT that way. Iowans have taken in and adopted, in my 52 years, folks from Laos, Vietnam, Bosnia, and now many from central america. Accepted them into our state, our lives, and our hearts. King is just plain ugly and mean.

        WTF!?!?!?! When did I move to the Republic of Gilead?!

        by IARXPHD on Thu Sep 20, 2012 at 02:08:09 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  relevant to Christie's visit (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sgary, ER Doc, MooseHB, Lujane

    you might want to look at this post from the Maddow blog  (h/t to Leaves on the Current, my beloved spouse)

    "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

    by teacherken on Thu Sep 20, 2012 at 12:20:04 PM PDT

    •  Excellent! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sciencegirl, Lujane

      Check in beforehand, on your return.

      I'll give you some great spots to see & eat at in Eastern Iowa.

      1. Corporations control our democracy and do not have our interests at heart;
      2. The media is not neutral -- and not blameless;
      3. Ordinary people have extraordinary power.

      by MooseHB on Thu Sep 20, 2012 at 01:19:17 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  don't know if I will have time (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Lujane

        only real dinner I expect to have while here is with the candidate.  I will be driving about 700 miles a week from tomorrow on my way home to give me a shorter drive on Saturday

        "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

        by teacherken on Thu Sep 20, 2012 at 01:34:55 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Sad but Necessary, I suppose (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          IARXPHD

          You won't be making the Iowa City High homecoming game, then.

          Depending on how early you start, you could hit a breakfast at the famous Hamburg Inn.  Though the politics is better than the food (it's not bad, though).

          If you are in the QC (Iowa-Illinois border) around lunchtime, I recommend finding a Rudy's Tacos, and ordering the enchiladas.  Or hit Frank's Pizza in Bettendorf or the original in Silvis, or the Ice Cream Palace in Silvis.

          1. Corporations control our democracy and do not have our interests at heart;
          2. The media is not neutral -- and not blameless;
          3. Ordinary people have extraordinary power.

          by MooseHB on Thu Sep 20, 2012 at 02:06:28 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Chris Cristie or Chistie V on Last Word tonite? (6+ / 0-)

    as great a get as Gov Christie would be for Lawrence, I hope it's Ms. Vilsack.  
    Welcome to Iowa, btw.  King is currently my rep, but thru the grace of redistricting, he no longer will be regardless of the outcome.  Still I hope pray and donate tat he will be put to pasture.

    Open, but not gaping..

    by sgary on Thu Sep 20, 2012 at 12:26:30 PM PDT

  •  Buddy Holly (5+ / 0-)

    Most people wouldn't connect Mason City with Buddy Holly, just Clear Lake, as that's where his last performance was and where the plane crashed (and it happens to be my home town).  

    Mason City is famous on it's own, though, as the home of Meredith Wilson and the setting for the musical The Music Man.  Frank Lloyd Wright also lived in Mason City for a time and designed several houses/buildings there.  

    Welcome to Iowa, it's a lovely time of year to be here.  And thank you so very much for any help in unseating the odious Steve King.  

  •  Welcome (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bawbie, ER Doc, MooseHB, operculum

    Welcome to Ames! I just noted today that it finally seems like there are a lot more signs for Vilsack around town. The King signs have been up for a while, and I think he must have the support of a local landlord, because they seem to be in great abundance in front of rental properties.

    If you have some free time Sunday, you should walk on over to the Art Festival on Main street. My husband will be there showing his beautiful paintings.

    "..wearing badges is not enough, in days like these." B. Bragg

    by sciencegirl on Thu Sep 20, 2012 at 12:40:33 PM PDT

  •  I met Christie in Los Angeles in 2000 (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ER Doc, MooseHB

    Both Tom and her were at the Convention.  Tom is a great guy but I also remember thinking that behind a successful guy there often is a successful spouse - in this case it is absolutely true.  I wish that I could walk some blocks for Christie.  Is there a way to make phone calls?

  •  I was just in my hom town, Mason City, 2 weeks (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ER Doc, MooseHB, bawbie

    ago.  I was born there in 1955.

    I assume you'll be taking I-380/IA218.  All along the way, you'll see big "KING" lawn signs, but not so much in Mason City.  I saw a number of Vilsack TV ads spots, don't recall seeing seeing King TV ads, though.

    While you're there, see if someone will take you to the Northwest Steakhouse for a fillet - deeee-licious.  A new restaurant in town, Chops, has great food, too.  I also had a steak there, along with Greek pasta.  Yum!

    But if time is an issue, just make sure to get over to Birdsall's for a hot fudge sundae before you leave.  Do not go to the Birdsall's inside that dreadful mall that ruined the downtown area - go to the original store on N. Federal (the main street).  From the time I can remember, Birdsall's was THE place for ice cream.  And when you go inside, what you see all around you is exactly how it appeared at least 55 years ago.  They never remodeled (yet, very clean).

    And if you're going to be downtown and appreciate fine architecture, make sure you go by the Park Inn Hotel/City National Bank.  It's a Frank Lloyd Wright building.  They just refurbished it, and it looks fabulous.  There's also 7 (I think) homes designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and his students, the largest collection of prairie-style homes in the world.  For some reason, Frank really liked Mason City.

    Last, but not least, Mason City is also famous for another reason - it's the home of Meredith Wilson, the writer of "The Music Man".  "We got trouble - right here in River City."  

    "River City" is Mason City.  If you have time, go by Marion the Librarian's Library (I was just there doing some genealogy), and take a quick walk over the footbridge.  Wilson's childhood home is right across the street from the Library.

    I know it sounds like alot, but you can see all the places I just mentioned in 10 minutes.  Mason City ain't all that big and they're located pretty close to one another.

    Anyway, where in Mason City is the event?

  •  Looking forward to the updates! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MooseHB, sciencegirl, operculum

        Iowa's 4th includes my old home town, far up in the deepest red part of northwest Iowa. Christine Vilsack has a shot at unseating King because of the extensive redistricting Iowa went through. His district used to be a block off the west edge of Iowa with a nearly straight north-south border west of the Des Moines suburbs. Now it's more or less the northwest quarter of the state, and all that central Iowa territory from Ames north is much bluer than any King has run in before. I've kicked in a little money, & I'll try to discourage my 'Pub relatives from supporting King.  :-(
          Good luck!

    -7.25, -6.26

    We are men of action; lies do not become us.

    by ER Doc on Thu Sep 20, 2012 at 12:49:36 PM PDT

  •  Iowa (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ER Doc, MooseHB

    In a sort of visual "word association" mention of the state brings up images of Michelle Obama being swamped by fans there four years ago.

    Anyone have a link to that video featuring the guy with glasses giving a tour of the "real" Iowa? About the driest wit I've ever seen!

  •  Thanks for your work... (0+ / 0-)

    ... on Ms. Vilsack's campaign. And please tell Jessica  "Groetjes van Ingrid in Arlington".

  •  No Matter What They Tell You In Ames... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    IARXPHD

    It's still a Hawkeye State.

    1. Corporations control our democracy and do not have our interests at heart;
    2. The media is not neutral -- and not blameless;
    3. Ordinary people have extraordinary power.

    by MooseHB on Thu Sep 20, 2012 at 01:38:31 PM PDT

  •  Please let us know (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    operculum

    if there are any recent polls.  I have donated to Vilsack, and will again.  Getting rid of King is important.  

  •  That would be WheatSfield Coop... (0+ / 0-)

    a common newbie mistake.  Maybe I will see you Saturday.

    Buy Monkey Milk for your next Tea Party!

    by just us on Thu Sep 20, 2012 at 02:06:30 PM PDT

  •  Thank you! (0+ / 0-)

    God bless you for working on that campaign, Ken. Lord, would I love to see Steve King leave congress. He's a truly horrible excuse for a legislator.

    "One of the secrets of life is that all that is really worth the doing is what we do for others." - Lewis Carroll, 1832-1898

    by Audio Guy on Thu Sep 20, 2012 at 02:11:36 PM PDT

  •  Welcome to Iowa, tk! (0+ / 0-)

    You came at a good time.  The weather is delightful, unlike the terrible summer and, with school back in session, Ames should be a lively place.  

    You passed me by (Davenport) as you drove through on I-80.  I haven't been to Ames since I was 12, but the western part of the state is beautiful.  If you get a chance, drive through the loess hills near the Missouri River.  (That's still in King's district, I think.)  They are a sacred place and just plain beautiful.

    Now, back to read the diary.  :-)

    -7.62, -7.28 "Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken winged bird that cannot fly." -Langston Hughes

    by luckylizard on Thu Sep 20, 2012 at 03:35:13 PM PDT

    •  don't know if I will get West (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      luckylizard

      most of the time I will probably be in field office here at Story County Dems, although I will spend the day in Mason City on Saturday, including canvassing after the event

      "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

      by teacherken on Thu Sep 20, 2012 at 03:51:30 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well, enjoy whatever (0+ / 0-)

        parts of the state you can.  Despite the Steve Kings of the world, we are really pretty decent, moderate folks here.  :-)

        -7.62, -7.28 "Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken winged bird that cannot fly." -Langston Hughes

        by luckylizard on Thu Sep 20, 2012 at 04:22:26 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I'm more concentrated on IA-2 (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    teacherken, Ahianne

    but I make a monthly contribution to Vilsack's campaign.

    C'est la vie, c'est la guerre, c'est la pomme de terre.

    by RunawayRose on Fri Sep 21, 2012 at 05:06:17 AM PDT

  •  Thank you for coming to Iowa (0+ / 0-)

    to help us get rid of Steve King and elect Christie Vilsack!

    •  doing what I can (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cocinero

      will be in Mason City midday tomorrow where Christie V will be joined by Sen. Amy Klobuchar

      "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

      by teacherken on Fri Sep 21, 2012 at 09:56:34 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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