Radio Iowa’s O.Kay Henderson recently spent time watching the two major party candidates for Governor campaign — and watching the crowds around them. People in crowds feel bolder and as Republican candidate Doug Gross walked through the Iowa State Fairgrounds, people said things like “Gross, the name fits” and “There’s Doug Gross — he’s from Mars.” As Gross worked the crowd at a parade in Maxwell, one man told him to keep the hog confinements out of central Iowa — a dig at Gross’ legal work for large-scale hog producers. And Gross got tips from some older ladies in the crowd who told him he needs to smile more. Gross often looks stern, even forbidding in pictures, but those who’ve been around him say he’s got a good sense of humor and an easy laugh. Despite the criticism, Gross says he gets something from campaigning, but he says folks aren’t shy about telling him what they think. Democrat Governor Tom Vilsack, Gross’ opponent, says campaigning takes a thick skin. Vilsack says the rigor of the campaign, though, is hardest on the spouses and family members.
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