Labor Day is often considered the kick-off weekend for the fall campaign. Radio Iowa’s O.Kay Henderson recently traveled with the two major party candidates for Governor, and compiled a series of reports on the experience. In early August, I e-mailed the Gross and Vilsack campaigns, asking if I could tag along with each candidate for a day — a pretty common request from political reporters. Gross’ press secretary e-mailed me back the same day. We reviewed a list of potential dates and settled on Saturday, August 10th, a day that would include a visit to the Iowa State Fair. The “conversation” — if you could call it that since we were communicating via e-mail — took about three hours. It took days rather than hours to sort things out with the Vilsack side, as he has a press secretary for the “official” functions connected with being Governor and a campaign communications director who handles campaign-related issues and events. After a few days and discussions with the campaign guy, we settled on a date in which I’d travel with Vilsack to Waterloo and watch the Governor give a speech — but I’d be barred from sitting in on some “official” activities. For a variety of reasons, that travel day didn’t work out. I ended up observing Vilsack on Thursday, August 22, one of the days on his “walking tour” of small town Iowa. I’ll tell you about my eight-mile walk with Vilsack, and my travels with Gross in my upcoming reports.
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