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Politics

With Mitt Romney Holding Back, Other Republican Hopefuls Barnstorm Iowa

August 3, 2011 - 6:00pm

With little more than a week to go until the Iowa straw poll in Ames, some of the Republican presidential candidates continued to beef up their operations in the Hawkeye State, which holds the first presidential caucus.

Having won a number of straw polls -- including two held at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in 2010 and earlier this year -- U.S. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas looked to continue his success in the events.

Supporters of the maverick libertarian congressmans presidential campaign announced this week that they were forming a coalition of farmers to help build support for Paul, and they would focus on Iowa.

As a farmer, I have seen the waste and unintended consequences of government programs that are outside the federal government's mandate, said Iowa state Rep. Jason Schultz, a Republican from Schleswig. Schultz, who raises corn and soybeans on his farm, will help lead Farmers for Paul.

Ron Paul's record spanning 30 years of constitutional conservatism proves that he doesn't say one thing and then do another, added Schultz. Hes the one candidate who will steer our country back toward the liberty and prosperity that comes with true, limited government."

The Paul campaign also announced that the congressman would be hitting Iowa next week with his son -- freshman U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., who is a favorite of the tea party movement.

Congressman Paul will be visiting Fairfield on Tuesday before his son joins him in Mason City, Waterloo, Cedar Rapids and Des Moines on Wednesday, and Ames on Thursday. The Paul camp played up the historic significance of the event, noting this is the first time a U.S. senator has campaigned with his father, who also served in Congress, for the presidency.

We in the senior Dr. Pauls campaign are already witnessing history as it pertains to Ron Paul inspiring the national conversation about restoring faithfulness to the Constitution, freeing Americans from a crushing national debt, and reversing the federal governments overreach, said Jesse Benton, a spokesman for Ron Paul. Now we again are seeing history in the making as the Drs. Paul campaign alongside each other in the important early primary election state of Iowa.

We are heartened that the Iowa state Republican Party can be part of this great story of an incumbent U.S. congressman campaigning for U.S. president joined by his son, an incumbent U.S. senator, said Drew Ivers, the chairman of Pauls Iowa campaign.

One of Pauls colleagues in Congress -- U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota -- doubled down on her efforts to win the straw poll. On Thursday, her camp announced 12 events the congresswoman will hold over the weekend and early next week. Shell be touring the state, hitting 11 cities -- including her old hometown of Waterloo -- as she looks to build momentum before the straw poll.

With former Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts, the current front-runner in the race, downplaying the straw poll, some of the underdogs in the race increased the pace of their efforts on Thursday as four of them campaigned in Iowa. U.S. Rep. Thad McCotter of Michigan campaigned in Altoona and Anamosa, while former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum held town hall events in Rock Rapids, Orange City and Sioux City. Businessman Herman Cain spoke in Des Moines and joined Santorum in speaking to the Professional Educators of Iowa in West Des Moines on Thursday night. Former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich of Georgia campaigned in Cedar Rapids and Des Moines.

Despite the looming straw poll, on Thursday two of the Republican hopefuls focused on New Hampshire, home of the first primary. Former Gov. Jon Huntsman of Utah, who has said his campaign will do little in Iowa, spoke to the Salem Chamber of Commerce and Republicans in Derry, while former Gov. Gary Johnson of New Mexico, who was left out of the straw poll by the Iowa Republicans, campaigned in Concord, Manchester and Nashua.

Reach Kevin Derby at kderby@sunshinestatenews.com or at (850) 727-0859.
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