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Ron Paul grassroots campaign opens Coralville headquarters

BY MARY KATE KNORR | DECEMBER 13, 2011 7:20 AM

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A small store space along a Coralville strip mall, 440 First Ave., buzzed with activity Monday night. As people clad in "I support the Constitution" T-shirts filed into the recently opened headquarters of a grass-roots network of supporters of Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas.

 

The only Paul headquarters in the area, supporters said the new office will be open until the caucuses Jan. 3 to help expand their outreach.

"Lots of really good people come down in [this area], and they'll be voters," said Randi Shannon. "They'll be stopping in, they'll be able to get questions answered and we'll be able to take care of it."

Even though JohnsonCounty is one of the bluest areas in the Midwest, supporters say the location is still valuable.

"Generally, Johnson County is largely Democratic, but there's a huge independent group of people here and a small group of Republicans, too," said Chris Peters. "I think Ron Paul has tremendous appeal across party lines, especially to independents … He bridges a lot of different divides that exist right now."

In addition, Peters said, the University of Iowa will draw support for the congressman from Texas.

"The university setting — not just in Iowa but nationwide — has large numbers of Ron Paul supporters," Peters said. "Clearly, there's a lot of support among students."

Shannon, who raised the $1,000 in funds needed to open the new headquarters, said she, too, hopes the convenient location will encourage students from UI and Kirkwood Community College to get involved with the campaign.

The new headquarters will provide space for supporters to set up phone banks, assemble door-knocking teams, and answer questions, Shannon said.

"We love all of the university students and the Kirkwood students," she said. "We have several students who come in here and work with us now, and they will work with us every day through the caucus. They are welcome to come down here at any point."

UI political-science Associate Professor Tim Hagle said the location will be a huge asset for Paul's campaign during the caucuses.

"To the extent that campus buildings will not be open, [students] can gather and get together," Hagle said. "[Paul's] supporters have a great deal of enthusiasm, and that counts for a lot come caucus night … That's especially true because the caucus is during our break here."

Paul was met with a huge amount of student support when he visited UI in October.

UI College Republicans head John Twillmann said he thinks the support will only grow.

"Ron Paul is very good at attracting younger people," he said. "He's really good at caucusing and … very good at getting people energized."


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