Third-party governor candidates make stops in Iowa City


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Iowa governor candidates Eric Cooper and David Rosenfeld said they know they're not going to win.

A Libertarian and a Socialist, respectively, the third-party Iowa politicians aren't naïve about their chances, but they work to spread their ideas to college students regardless. Both took time to campaign at the University of Iowa and downtown Iowa City on the afternoon of Sept. 17.

And Iowa City isn't their last stop.

Eric Cooper, the Libertarian candidate, said he plans to visit every college in the state with more than 3,000 students during his campaign. He said public universities should have to compete with smaller colleges for student enrollment and doesn't believe government should play a role in a student's choice of where to attend college.

Rosenfeld said most college students are not familiar with smaller political parties, such as the Socialist Party.

"[College students] are very receptive to many ideas that we are raising," he said, "Especially if they are from working-class background, and their families have been affected [by the bad economy]."

Rosenfeld recently campaigned at Iowa State University and several Des Moines Area Community College campuses and said he will continue to branch out to students as well as workers.

As Cooper stood in 351 IMU, he spoke to what the Libertarian Party is all about: happiness.

"Government shouldn't stop you from doing anything that makes you happy," Cooper said, pointing to restrictions on gambling, prostitution, and marijuana as instances of government control.

Iowa currently has nine Libertarians running for different offices; none are in office.

Cooper said his goal is to achieve 2 percent of votes. If he does, Libertarians would gain major-party status for the party, and Cooper said he wants Libertarians to run in every office in the state during the 2012 elections.

Outside Capanna on the Pedestrian Mall, Rosenfeld handed out copies of The Militant, a socialist newspaper, and explained he is trying to gain power for the working class and decrease the influence of capitalists in power.

A member of the United Steelworkers Union, he said he believes workers' rights, ending the war, and immigrant rights are the most important issues during this campaign.

Major-party candidates are also tryinig to spread their messages to college students.

"Terry Branstad committed early and often to visiting every college and university in the state. He looks forward to sharing his message of job creation and economic growth with students in Iowa," an official with the Branstad campaign said.

Student organizations also taking advantage of opportunities to educate students about third parties.

Ani DeGroot, the Iowa State head of Young Americans for Liberty, said though the group does not endorse candidates, the members enjoy hosting third-party candidates who represent new viewpoints on popular issues.

"We seek to educate students on the philosophy of liberty through a wide range of events, such as those that are issue-focused, like film screenings … and hosting speakers like Dr. Ron Paul," DeGroot said.

In the 2006 governor election in Iowa, Libertarians received 333 votes and Socialists received 75 in Johnson County — far fewer than the 30,083 for Democrats and 12,948 for Republicans.

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