Living in Society

Politics 18 Days Out

Fall Colors
Fall Colors

LAKE MACBRIDE— The general election is 18 days away, and how my ballot will shape up is finally clear. This coming week, the two of us will head into Iowa City and vote at the auditor’s office. The down-ticket races and issues have been challenging to make a reasonable decision.

In particular, the township trustee election has no candidate on the ballot. As chair of the board of trustees, I made the following press release regarding the absence of a candidate on the ballot:

October 17, 2014

SOLON, Iowa– DeWayne Klouda is running a write-in campaign for Big Grove Township Trustee in the Nov. 4 election. He currently serves as a trustee and was appointed this year upon the retirement of Elmer Vanorny. He has prior service as Township Clerk, beginning in 1998. He is familiar with the roles and responsibilities of the township, which include managing the township budget and the Tri-Township Fire Department, operating Oakdale Cemetery, custodian of the pioneer cemetery at Fackler’s Grove, and resolving lot line disputes.
Klouda’s filing paperwork was delayed by the U.S. Postal Service, so his name is not on the ballot.
We seek to make voters aware of this campaign and hope voters in Big Grove Township will consider writing in DeWayne Klouda for township trustee on their Nov. 4 ballot.

Late breaking situations like this are why I don’t like voting early. This year, I will be in the Chicago area in early November, so won’t be around to vote on election day.

The U.S. Senate election is garnering a lot of media attention, and the Republican advertising campaign has been thorough, well crafted and abundant. Counting how many impressions of Joni Ernst have filtered into my no-television lifestyle would be tough. Suffice it to say her name is everywhere I go. This last week, her sign advertising has begun to crop up, along with new radio ads I hear on my way to work. There are web ads everywhere, and bumper stickers. She will have no problem with name recognition.

Bruce Braley’s name is also most places I go, although there have been less impressions of Braley than his opponent. My sense is that because Ernst and her third party supporters appear to be outspending Braley in an attempt to buy this senate seat, the outreach of her messaging has been effective, the way anything that is well capitalized can be. The benefit for Braley, is many voters that matter most don’t seem to like what they are hearing from Ernst.

When I talk about “voters that matter most,” I refer not to polling subjects, but to people I meet and know who are less partisan in their approach to elections. It seems clear to me that neither candidate has cracked the code to get these votes, other than to work hard at it. It’s hard to tell because people don’t want to talk about the election the way they did during the 2006 and 2008 cycles. As I work my network to turn out votes, people plan to vote for Braley or one of the less well known candidates, but not Ernst. My network has a Democratic bias.

I proofread our local paper and there have been very few letters to the editor supporting one candidate or another. Because I read the stories from text files, I’m not sure who is buying ads in the paper, and can’t provide a meaningful evaluation there.

My state representative is bringing Senator Rand Paul to a fundraising event at his political family’s farm. His challenger is publishing an ad with a photo of himself with Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. There is talk that these two senators are evaluating a 2016 presidential run—key word is evaluating. I suspect they are here more to help Ernst and Braley and other candidates. Neither one of them seems likely to pull in the less partisan voters, although Paul has moderated some of his views in a way that will appeal to some of them.

October will soon turn to November when we’ll know the result. In the meanwhile, there is work to be done in the ground game Democrats are counting upon to win.