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November 4th, 2011
 

Bachmann, Santorum Try to Sway Undecideds in Dallas County

Exactly two months before selecting their choice for GOP presidential nominee, a lot of Iowans are still having a tough time picking their favorite. Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum tried to win over undecided voters in Dallas County on Thursday. They were the headliners for the county party’s fundraiser in Adel.

Both candidates worked the crowd of 110 during a chili dinner, visiting with each table. They also paid extra attention to GOP heavyweights. Santorum chatted with Secretary of State Matt Schultz for several minutes. Bachmann conversed with former attorney general candidate Brenna Findley and gave high praise to Findley’s pumpkin pie. “It was terrific,” Bachmann told the crowd.

Neither Schultz nor Findley have publicly endorsed a candidate. However, Findley sat at Rick Perry’s table during the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition dinner two weeks ago.

Following brief speeches from local candidates, Rick Santorum addressed the audience. He heavily played up his social conservative and national security credentials. “You want someone whose going to stand up for moral issues. You want someone who’s going to stand up for a strong America…look at my record,” the former Pennsylvania senator told the crowd.

He also gave a scary prognosis regarding an upcoming report from the International Atomic Energy Agency on Iran’s nuclear program. “There’s a report coming out in two weeks that might change the world,” Santorum said. “If it is what some fear, it will change the world.”

He later added that a nuclear Iran must not be allowed, but fears what the Obama administration’s reaction will be. “The President of the United States has said ‘Iran can’t have a nuclear weapon’. But is he prepared to act if they do?”

Michele Bachmann gave the more fiery speech of the two. The final few minutes of her dialogue were almost like basketball coach’s halftime speech, trying to rally her team to come from behind.

“Check the YouTube videos,” Bachmann said. “You won’t find me not standing for life. You won’t find me not standing for marriage. You won’t find me not standing for the military. You won’t find me not standing strong for fiscal policy. Make sure we don’t settle on a candidate who offers any less than our agenda.” Bachmann also mentioned her Iowa roots four times.

Following the event, TheIowaRepublican spoke with several attendees. None were ready to make their decision on a candidate, but Bachmann and Santorum helped their case. “It was interesting,” said local accountant John Short. “My feeling is that, I still didn’t hear how they’re going to get their missions accomplished. Things are so divided now and I don’t know how they’re going to accomplish what they say.”

State representative Ralph Watts, who endorsed Mitt Romney four years ago, says he is undecided this cycle but would be happy with Santorum or Bachmann winning. “It was a great opportunity to sit down and listen to them one-on-one,” Watts said. “I like that Bachmann stresses the need to get rid of ObamaCare, lock, stock and barrel.” Watts added that he does not plan to endorse any candidate.

Other attendees were thrilled to have two presidential candidates, as well as a throng of national media, in their hometown. “I thought it was fantastic,” said Vonz Odem of Adel. “I thought they both did an excellent job.”

“The passion is one thing that stands out,” added Tom Harbison. “They’re both very passionate in their beliefs.”  Harbison and Odem are also undecided on their presidential choice.

Both Bachmann and Santorum are likely to benefit from their appearances at this event. The only other campaign with a presence at this event was Mitt Romney’s. Field staffer Phil Valenziano worked the room, signing up a handful of supporters and a pair of precinct captains.

Photo courtesy of Dave Davidson


About the Author

Kevin Hall
Kevin Hall brings almost two decades of journalistic experience to TheIowaRepublican. Starting in college as a radio broadcaster, Hall eventually became a television anchor/reporter for stations in North Carolina, Missouri, and Iowa. During the 2007 caucus cycle, Hall changed careers and joined the political realm. He was the northwest Iowa field director for Fred Thompson's presidential campaign. Hall helped Terry Branstad return to the governor's office by organizing southwest Iowa for Branstad's 2010 campaign. Hall serves as a reporter/columnist for TheIowaRepublican.com.




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