Iowa’s toss-up status in this year’s presidential election is nerve-wracking for top officials in both major parties and for the rank-and-file voters.
Kimberly Penning of Ankeny voted for Mitt Romney four years ago. She’s undecided about the presidential race this year and plans to make a final voting decision the day before the Election, just in case there’s some last-minute revelation.
“I’m looking for somebody that’s going to basically do something good for the country and isn’t going to send us down a rabbit hole,” she said Sunday.
She described the campaign as a “rollercoaster.” Irene Wesley of Ames is a Democrat who has already voted, for Hillary Clinton. She said this election is “mind boggling.”
“I have never seen a bigger circus in my life,” Wesley said Sunday. “It rivals elections in Latin America. It rivals elections in Italy.”
Iowa Republicans held their annual fall fundraiser Saturday night. The party’s top leaders condemned what Donald Trump said on a vulgar recording that was replayed over and over this weekend, but remain committed to voting for Trump rather than Hillary Clinton. Governor Terry Branstad told reporters Iowa Republicans “are not going to abandon” Trump.
“We need to look to the future and we need to look at what kind of a leader we’re going to have for this country,” Branstad said Saturday, “and I think that the vision that Trump and Pence has is much better for the future of America than what Hillary Clinton offers.”
A Des Moines Register Iowa Poll conducted last week before the video was released found Trump ahead in Iowa by four points. That prompted former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack to ask a crowd of Democrats in Ames on Sunday why Iowa is the only battleground state in the country where Clinton’s trailing Trump.
“We always knew this was going to be a very tough race and a tight race in Iowa, but I think it is important for Iowans to understand what’s at stake here,” Vilsack told reporters. “…There’s a stark difference between these candidates on the issues that matter to Iowans.”
Vilsack decided to fill out his absentee ballot last night, with his young grandchildren in the room to mark the occasion.
One Republican member of the Iowa House went on Facebook this weekend to announce he would not vote for the GOP nominee. Representative Ken Rizer of Cedar Rapids said Trump’s recently revealed remarks about women illustrate an “arrogant lack of character.” Rizer, who backed Jeb Bush in the Caucuses, said as a husband and the father of two college-aged daughters, he will not vote for Trump “out of respect for women.”