The two candidates for governor have spent millions running for governor, but it’s often the unpaid volunteers who carry the candidate to victory.

Mike Cook of Des Moines has volunteered countless hours at the campaign headquarters for Republican gubernatorial candidate Jim Nussle. Cook is too modest to say how many calls he has made to potential voters. “I’m an everyday kind of guy trying to do the best that I can,” Cook says. “That’s all I can say.”

The volunteer coordinator at Nussle’s headquarters says Cook has made about 11,000 phone calls on behalf of Nussle. Cook himself cautions about focusing on that. “It’s not about how many calls I can make because anybody can try to make the numbers,” Cook says. “It’s a matter of a positive contact to see if we can really get something done to change the face of our society.”

On the other side of town, at the Iowa Democratic Party’s campaign headquarters, John Gonzales of Des Moines has been going in every day for the past couple of months to make get-out-the-vote calls. One of his friend’s goes along and reads the phone numbers to him. “I’m blind and I do this for an organization that I’m in — the National Federation of the Blind. I call members, letting them know (about) the meetings and what’s on the agenda, the time and date,” Gonzales says. “I figured I’ll give this a shot.”

His volunteer hours normally occur during daylight hours when people are at work or school. “I’ve been mainly getting a lot of answering machines,” he says.