Five presidential candidates campaigned in Iowa this past weekend, three of them Republicans trying to line up support for the Iowa G-O-P’s Straw Poll on August 11th. Sam Brownback’s giving supporters brown wrist bands to wear as a reminder of the Ames event. Tom Tancredo and Tommy Thompson had a combined total of 13 events over the weekend to court supporters.
Iowa Republican Party chairman Chuck Laudner says these candidates will not be able to bus in out-of-state supporters. "You have to have an Iowa I.D.," Laudner says. And it must be a picture I.D. That most likely means driver’s licenses, and Laudner says they’ll be scanned and recorded in a computer system. "It will link all of those laptops — the 60 credentialling locations that we’ll have," he says. "You won’t be able to use that driver’s license again."
Which prevents an Iowan from sharing their driver’s license with an out-of-stater who wants to use it to vote in the Straw Poll. During the last Straw Poll in 1999, those who cast a ballot had to show a voter registration card. This time around, the only think one needs to show is a photo I.D. that proves Iowa residency.
"So hopefully it will work a lot quicker than having to look ’em up on a voter roll," Laudner says. "We don’t want to have it slowed down like it was in ’99….We want to be able to handle as many voters as possible." Each of the participating Republican presidential candidates will have a turn to speak in Ames, then there’ll be a concert sponsored by the One Campaign — the group rock star Bono started to fight global poverty. Laudner says it won’t be Bono and U2 performing in Ames that Saturday night, but they’ll release the names of the musical performers beforehand.
"Those details will be coming shortly," he says. Two Democrats, Chris Dodd and Barack Obama, had campaign events over the weekend in Iowa. Late Friday, Obama went to a farm in Adel to outline his views on farm policy. "In the neighborhoods where I live, the main livestock are squirrels," Obama joked. Obama said he’s asked a group of ag experts to advise him on farm issues. Obama lamented the cost of arugula at his local "Whole Foods" grocery store as a sign of the price mark-up that’s benefitting agribusiness conglomerates rather than farmers. Obama returns to Iowa this morning for a town hall meeting in Cedar Rapids.