Loebsack revs up campaign

BY ALEX HANAFAN | JUNE 23, 2014 5:00 AM

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Roughly two dozen devoted Democrats gathered in a crowded room to discuss the long road to election season on Sunday afternoon. 

Rep. Dave Loebsack, D-Iowa, opened his new campaign office in Iowa City, which will help recruit volunteers as well as voters, for the upcoming general election, Nov. 4.

Loebsack will go up against Republican candidate Mariannette Miller-Meeks for the third time to compete for the 2nd Congressional District seat.

The campaign was organized to bring together neighbors, activists, and coordinators to centralize their work specifically in Johnson County.

Loebsack, who has worked closely with Johnson County, said Iowa City has always done well in campaigns. However, the Democrats want to make sure they are more than prepared this fall.

In 2010, Loebsack received 62 percent of votes in Johnson County, and Miller-Meeks received 35 percent of the votes in Johnson County.

Additionally, Loebsack said he has a variety of connections with the University of Iowa and is excited to get involved with the UI Democrats.

Sam Lau, an event coordinator with the Iowa Democratic Party, said the grand opening was a great opportunity to localize the campaign and get the community involved as much as possible.

Lau said volunteers with the Loebsack campaign do a “wide number” of things, including making phone calls and talking to neighbors.

“They are the ones who are going to make or break the election,” he said.

Sharon Lake, a volunteer organizer with the Loebsack campaign, said she has worked with the campaign since 2008 and has extensive experience with the process.

Organizers will meet weekly to train for the many duties volunteers are granted, such as knocking on doors and entering previous election data.

The activists’ main goals are to get together and promote the campaign, as well as getting the community “fired up” for the election come November, Lau said.

According to the Johnson County Auditor’s Office website, the number of straight-ticket voting for the Democratic Party dropped from 10,975 in 2006 to 10,435 in 2010 while the Republican vote increased from 4,331 to 4,876.

“We’re just trying to make sure 2014 isn’t anything like 2010,” Loebsack said.

Sen. Bob Dvorsky, D-Coralville, said the Democratic Party’s main demographic for the upcoming election is the middle class.

“A lot of people are struggling in Johnson County,” he said.

Dvorsky said the key components for the campaign include increasing the minimum wage and state funding for education.

Bob Keettel, the chairman of the Johnson County Republicans, said the Republican Party has not opened up its campaign office yet, but officials are completing negotiations for one. An opening date has yet to be announced.

Keettel said this year’s election would test Johnson County voters’ faith in a woman candidate.

“If things go as we expect, we should have a top ticket,” he said.

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