Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz says he is “all in” for the February 1 Iowa Caucuses and he was here this weekend to speak to campaign volunteers.
About 100 people gathered for the “grand opening” of the Cruz campaign headquarters in Urbandale and they got a pep talk from Matt Schultz, the chairman of Cruz’s Iowa campaign.
“We are on the right trajectory and I know we are going to win Iowa because of people just like you,” Schultz said.
Cruz closed his speech to the crowd by quoting dialogue from a Star Wars movie to motivate what he calls his “grassroots army.”
“I’ll point out what we’re doing here is not trying. As Yoda said: ‘There is no try. Do or do not,'” Cruz said, and the crowd laughed and applauded.
AUDIO of Schultz, then Cruz speaking to crowd, 20:00
Cruz told reporters he’d been “cautious” about holding back on campaign spending, but gave the “green light” on Labor Day to start ramping things up here.
“In politics, there end up being flavors of the month, people who pop to the top of the polls and then fall back down as quick,” Cruz said. “I’m a big believer in the Biblical principle that you build your foundation on stone and not on sand.”
Kevin Burton of Grimes said he likes Cruz because Cruz “takes a stand” and Burton said he hasn’t seen that in a Republican candidate in “quite a few years.”
“He talks the talk, but he actually walks the walk as well,” Burton said.
A week ago Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker ended his campaign and urged others to drop out so conservatives could settle on one candidate to dislodge frontrunner Donald Trump. Steve Scheffler, the president of the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition, also serves on the Republican National Committee and he said Saturday that Iowa conservatives are “pretty independent.”
“Most people are just still weighing their options and looking the field over,” Scheffler said. “We’ve still got 15 candidates, so I think it’s still hard for most people to sort out because I think we’ve got a better choice than in past years.”
A couple of other Republican presidential candidates campaigned in Iowa over the weekend. On Saturday, Ohio Governor John Kasich made stops in Sioux City and Council Bluffs and Kasich told reporters he understands he has a lot of work to do in Iowa.
“I’m not that well known and I’m building a team and people are certainly nice, but they’ve always been nice,” Kasich said in Sioux City. “…I think we’ve risen a little bit here. I think there’s some polls that indicate that.”
Carly Fiorina played up her outsider status during a town hall meeting in Dubuque late Friday.
“Citizens, we must take our government back,” Fiorina said, to applause, according to video posted on The Dubuque Telegraph Herald’s website.
On Saturday in Iowa City, Fiorina went to a tailgate before the Hawkeye football game. Protesters showed up, too, and criticized Fiorina for joining Republicans calls to “defund” Planned Parenthood.
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal was the keynote speaker at the Quad Cities Prayer Breakfast on Saturday morning and he spoke in Burlington Saturday night.
(Reporting in Sioux City by Woody Gottburg of KSCJ Radio; Fiorina courtesy of The Dubuque Telegraph-Herald)