Iowans have been listening for months to the candidates and to the campaign ads. Now, it’s Election Day and voters get to have the final say. Polls show the race for the White House is tight in Iowa, and mayors around the state say they sense a dividing line in their communities. Marion Mayor John Nieland says for some reason, people have really “dug in” on the presidential race. “I guess I don’t see a lot of inbetween,” Nieland says. “What I see is people who are very strongly in favor of one candidate or another.” Mark Langerud is the mayor of Pleasant Hill, a Des Moines suburb, and he says Iowans are fatigued by all the campaign activity and he doesn’t think the last-minute personal appearances by Bush and Kerry in Iowa made much difference. “I think we’ve had all the visitations that we’re going to need and it’s time to vote and be done,” he says. A record number of Iowans are registered to vote — over two million adults. Twenty-year-old Simpson College student Nikki Carlton of Pleasantville is voting for the first time. “I feel that it’s a big responsibility and that kids like young kids or like 18 and over obviously need to go out and vote because their vote truly does count,” Carlton says. Since Iowa is a swing state, the airwaves have been loaded with campaign ads.Judy Tjebkes of Gowrie dislikes the negative campaign ads. Tjebkes says, though, research shows the negative ads do work, but she doesn’t like to listen to the negative ads run against President Bush. “It’s hard to hear all the negative stuff coming from the Kerry campaign. I just think some of them should be held accountable,” Tjebkes says of the Kerry campaign. Sally Behning of Sioux City is unhappy with the tone of the campaign, too, but her complaints are about George Bush’s ads. “There’s just a lot of dirty slinging that shouldn’t be done,” Behning says. “If they’re going to campaign, they should say what they’re going to do instead of throw dirt on the opponent. I think Kerry’s run the cleanest campaign, of course.” Behning sees more activity in her neighborhood for Kerry this year than she did for Al Gore in 2000. “I talk to a lot of people and just see a lot more people who are getting involved because of Bush and what he’s done,” she says. Adeline Ruge of Fort Dodge is getting involved in a campaign for the first time, but she’s backing George Bush. “I’ve been praying for so long. I can’t stand it when they run President Bush down. I just cry for him,” Ruge says.
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