Radio Iowa’s O.Kay Henderson recently spent a day with Republican gubernatorial candidate Doug Gross, and found him mending fences. Gross walked into Rick and Sandy Hoenig’s home in Ames early one Saturday morning in August, and sat down in the living room where he was surrounded by 10 people, all republican activists, all of whom had supported his opponents in the republican primary. The group quizzed him on issues that had been important to Steve Sukup and Bob Vander Plaats — the candidates Gross beat. Former Republican Governor Robert Ray had pressed Gross to meet with the Hoenig’s and their Republican friends in Ames, and like a football coach on a recruiting trip, Gross made his pitch. Rick Hoenig says Gross connected with an important group, the kind of people who have voter lists and will make the calls. Hoenig says Gross does better in a small-group setting than in speeches to big crowds, and the small crowd of 10 who gathered in Hoenig’s living room left willing to work for Gross’ election.
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