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August 11th, 2011

Romney Still has Frontrunner Appeal in Iowa

Mitt Romney has all but dismissed Iowa during this presidential campaign, but the former Massachusetts Governor maintains a loyal following here.  That was clearly evident Wednesday evening. Romney headlined a $50 per person fundraiser for the Polk County GOP.  He drew a crowd of crowd of over 150, netting the county party $15,000 in the process.

“Governor Romney is doing us a great favor,” said Nick Van Patten, a Polk GOP officer who hosted the event in his home.  “This is a very important fundraiser for our party.”

The Romney event provided a sharp contrast to Michele Bachmann’s Polk GOP fundraiser three days earlier.  Although Bachmann is the presumed Iowa frontrunner and her event was free, she drew a smaller a crowd than Romney.  The make-up of the two audiences also differed greatly.  Romney has maintained his appeal to the business community. Bachmann attracts conservatives from all walks of life.

Part of the reason for Romney’s larger turnout is due to this being only his second visit to Iowa this year.  Bachmann has campaigned extensively in Polk County since announcing her presidential bid in late June.  The rare Romney visit attracted a massive contingent of national and local media, including a live report on Fox News from Carl Cameron.

Romney chatted with attendees and took pictures with several of them.  His speech lasted only nine minutes, touching mainly on the economy and President Obama’s failures.  “You’ve got a lot of people that are suffering, are hurting, by virtue of the President’s policies,” Romney said.  “You might think, well what did he do that was so bad.  My answer is, almost everything.  When it comes to the economy, almost everything.”

The 2007 Ames Straw Poll winner never mentioned this year’s event, which takes place Saturday.  However, he did make a pitch for the crowd’s support in the Iowa Caucus.  “I look forward to you support when the caucus time comes,” Romney said.  “I need a few votes.  I want to get the delegates from Iowa.”

The enthusiasm from the crowd showed Romney maintains a strong base of support in Iowa that no other candidate has been able to tap into, yet.  However, with the looming announcement of Rick Perry’s candidacy, Romney might need to make the Hawkeye State a more frequent stop on his travel itinerary.


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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

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