Iowa City, Johnson County prepare for Election Day as candidates make last push


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Time’s up.

With the election’s arrival following more than a year of relentless fundraising, debating, and campaigning, Democratic and Republican politicians and volunteers alike are pushing for the final votes in hopes of shifting Iowa’s swing-state status into the blue or red.

In the 2008 election, then-Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., won Iowa, earning 53.9 percent of the vote and 70 percent of the Johnson County vote.

Four years later, Republicans and Democrats pound the pavement leading up to the closing of polls, either hoping for a change or hoping for a repeat.

Sue Dvorsky, the head of the Iowa Democratic Party, stopped in Iowa City at Johnson County Supervisor Rod Sullivan’s home Monday as Democratic volunteers continued to rally support for politicians at the state and national level.

Sullivan’s home served as a pit stop for the roughly 80 volunteers who have walked door-to-door over the final four days of the Get Out the Vote campaign.

“It’s another step in trying to make sure we make it as easy as possible for our volunteers to access support,” Dvorsky said.

The campaign pushed volunteers to educate the remaining voters, reminding them to turn in absentee ballots and to form a voting plan.

Students with the University of Iowa’s College Democrats are taking part in the campaign, pushing locals to venture to the voting booths.

“Our biggest part is to make sure everyone who supports President Obama gets to polls on Tuesday,” said Katherine Valde, the president of College Democrats.

But where there’s blue, other people see red.

Kelsey Boehm, the president of UI College Republicans, looks forward to the election, hoping to see positive results after a year’s worth of efforts.

“We’re really happy with the amount of work we’ve done locally and nationally, and we’re excited to see where our work gets us,” she said.

Boehm isn’t alone in her optimism.

AJ Spiker, the chairman of the Iowa GOP, said as the Republicans continue to knock on doors — he estimates volunteers have knocked on 20 times more doors in the last four days than during the entire 2008 election — they prepare to see results.

“The GOP is going to deliver the state of Iowa to Romney,” he said.

On a national level, Republicans are confident in GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s ability to take Iowa’s electoral votes.

“Mitt Romney is going to win Iowa on Tuesday, and the state that launched Barack Obama’s historic run for the White House will politely ask to have its vote back,” said David Kochel, a strategist for the Romney campaign.  

Not only does Spiker believe Republicans will take Iowa in the presidential election, he said that Iowa’s state government will see an increase in Republican victories.

“We feel very good on the Iowa Senate, and it looks like we’ll take majority there, along with the House,” Spiker said.

Despite the GOP’s confidence, Obama’s campaign remains hopeful for the election.

“We feel really good about the state of the race,” said Elizabeth Purchia, the Iowa press secretary for Obama for America.

While the various campaigns and volunteers express confidence in the election, a few local residents don’t exude the same confidence.

“I’m dying of anticipation,” said Iowa City resident Alisa Meggitt.  “I’m so worried that Obama’s not going to win.”

But Colleen Thompson, also an Iowa City resident, hopes to see a change in the Oval Office.

“This is our chance to get back to basics,” she said.  “I’m excited to maybe get a change of policy.”

Aside from excitement and anticipation, two students at the University of Iowa see a close race — with an unwritten ending.

“I think it’s a big election, especially because of [Hurricane Sandy] in the last couple of days,” UI freshman Taylor Stecklein said.  “The candidates definitely have a lot to deal with.”

While Stecklein sees candidates entering office with a slew of issues to tend to, Amber Severson, sees a question mark.

“I feel like it’s going to be close,” she said.  “It really could go either way.”

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