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Both governor candidates confident in race

BY MARIA GIBBS | NOVEMBER 02, 2010 7:15 AM

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At the train station at the intersection of Dubuque and Wright Street on Monday, roughly 60 people discussed the election while glancing down the railroad tracks to see if the governor’s train was in sight.

When it came around the curve, excited murmurs took the place of conversations. Then they cheered.

The gubernatorial incumbent, Gov. Chet Culver, stepped out onto the back platform of the train to address the crowd of supporters one day before Election Day.

Both Culver and Republican candidate Terry Branstad have been traveling around the state during their campaigns leading up to today. Branstad stopped in seven Iowa cities Monday, including Ames, Cedar Rapids, and Davenport, said spokesman Tim Albrecht.

During his speech, Culver touched on campaign topics such as stem-cell research, children’s health care, and earning “one vote each at a time.”

Culver’s entourage — including Democratic senate candidate Roxanne Conlin, and U.S. Rep. Dave Loebsack, D-Iowa — stopped for around 10 minutes in Iowa City on Monday, then continued on to the other stops.

Throughout Culver’s brief visit, people held up signs in support of the Democratic Party and booed when the opposing side was mentioned in a positive light.

Coralville resident Melissa Stahl attended the event to demonstrate her support for Culver and his plans.

“If you want to get anything accomplished, you have to look forward,” the 45-year-old said. “You cannot look back.”

Stahl said she spent Oct. 30 calling people for the campaign, and supported Culver because he was not going to step backwards on issues such as stem cell research.

But Albrecht said the Branstad’s campaign is ready for today’s results, and he thinks voters are affected by job losses in the state. He said Culver had lost 55,000 jobs while in office, while Branstad has a plan to create 200,000 more jobs.

Conlin, the Democratic challenger to Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, said on Monday that the senator had “turned to face Wall Street,” drawn into the world of politics away from real life.

“Let’s give the guy a rest,” she cried, referencing Grassley’s many decades in politics.

Beth Levine, a spokeswoman for Grassley, said there was no way Grassley had become jaded despite 52 years in politics. He comes home for the weekend and talks to Iowans while he is in the state, she said.

“That’s what Iowa expects of him — to be in Washington, D.C., doing his job and voting and at home in Iowa when there are no votes,” Levine said. “He works very hard to earn the trust of Iowans.”

Margaret Murphy, the copresident of the UI Democrats, said candidate visits are important for supporters, and she is confident about today’s elections.

Nic Pottebaum, the head of Students for Branstad, said they are also expecting a win. The optimism stems mainly from early voting results — a record turnout in Johnson County.

“We did push students to vote early,” he said. “Not just for the 21-ordinance but for every issue.”


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