Last Friday, Bob Vander Plaats was kind enough to let me tag along with him as he campaigned in Linn County. One of the objectives of TheIowaRepublican.com is to provide an up-close, unfiltered look at Iowa politics. While I hope my account of my day with Bob is helpful and/or interesting, I sought after the opportunity so that I could gain a better understanding of Bob as a candidate and the campaign he is running.
One of the great things about a small state like Iowa is that we can get to know the candidates who run for Governor, Congressman, Senator, or even President. I’ve been fortunate to be able to get to know many of our candidates, but I also wanted to make an effort to learn more about the candidates that I don’t yet really know.
Some might think that there couldn’t be much to learn about Bob that isn’t already known. I think that is probably the case for the people who have supported his previous campaigns. But for me, 2010 will mark the first time in almost a decade that I will not be involved in a gubernatorial campaign. In 2002, I was involved in Steve Sukup’s campaign, and in 2006 I was involved with Jim Nussle’s campaign. In both instances, I was engaged in their fundraising efforts. With that being the case, I have never had the opportunity to watch Vander Plaats on the campaign trail.
I didn’t really know what to expect as I waited to be picked up at an abandoned truck stop. As Bob’s GMC Suburban pulled in, I noticed there were a lot more people in the vehicle that I expected. Driving was Tim, the finance director for the campaign. Riding shotgun was Dave, a photographer/new media guru from Des Moines. Dave met Bob on the Huckabee campaign. Relegated to the third row after my arrival was Wes Enos, who works on Bob’s campaign.
As we traveled along I-80, Bob quickly introduced me to his “burban,” and he told me it has 422,000 miles on it. After Bob made sure I was familiar with my surroundings, including the clicking sound coming from the dashboard, we began talking about his day and his thoughts on the race. It was a good conversation, and I came away with a better understanding of his campaign.
At our first stop, Bob announced that Peter Teahen would be his Linn County Chairman. It is obvious that Bob and Peter are good friends. Teahen was on crutches; he broke his leg paragliding on a recent vacation. Teahen and his daughter and son-in-law all joined us later that evening for dinner.
The big unknown for the day was what the turnout was going to be for the Iowa Conservative Coalition event. To everyone’s surprise, there were almost 70 people there. While the audience was great for a Friday night, it’s bit difficult for that many people to gather around a 27 inch TV. I thought the Glenn Beck special was very good. My only problem with Beck is that it seems that every time I watch his show, he ends up crying.
After the TV special was over, various candidates were allowed to speak, with Bob delivering the keynote. While I have not spent a ton of time with Bob, I’m well aware of his speaking abilities. He didn’t disappoint. After the event, Bob made sure to talk to folks as they left the event. On our way home, Wes reported that they had distributed 32 bumper stickers.
As we traveled back, the atmosphere in the suburban was much more relaxed. Bob and I continued to talk about the race, while Dave became obsessed with getting a picture of the odometer as it read 422,222 miles. I mentioned that the photo is also proof that we were speeding…
Overall it was a good day, and I appreciate Team Vander Plaats letting me tag along with them.
blog comments powered by Disqus