CORALVILLE – If you want to know where Sam Clovis stands on any particular issue, just ask him. He welcomes it. The U.S. Senate candidate spoke to a crowd of 20 Johnson County Republican activists for more than an hour and 15 minutes on Wednesday, until every single one of their questions was answered.
“I thought it was great. I think that’s what people want to hear, they want to get their questions answered. I thought we had a wide variety of questions today, so I thought it was good,” said Karen Fesler, a Johnson County activist and the secretary of the Second District Executive Committee.
The queries ranged from immigration reform to the Patriot Act to farm subsidies to birthright citizenship. Not everyone liked the answers Clovis provided, but they appreciated his candor, and his depth of knowledge.
“When is the last time someone has walked in here and told you the truth? I’m going to make one promise to you. I will always tell you truth,” Clovis told the audience.
He called the pending immigration reform bill “awful”, “an abomination” and “McCain-Kennedy on steroids”.
Tim Grover, a conservative activist from Jackson County, traveled to Coralville on Wednesday to listen to Clovis. He wants to hear what all the candidates have to say and where they stand on the issues. Grover was impressed by the college professor from northwest Iowa.
“I saw a very solid base knowledge,” Grover said. “I saw experience, wisdom on the issues. I didn’t see talking points there. I saw positions. I think he’s got a background that’s going to play well with independents, especially military families. I saw, not a performance, but a good solid basis of why he’s running.”
Clovis railed against the Supreme Court’s decisions on gay marriage, noting that Wednesday’s decisions reinforce the importance of electing senators who vote to approve the justices. He also criticized Washington, D.C. politicians for not doing their jobs and called presumptive Democrat nominee Bruce Braley more liberal than Tom Harkin.
“They will not protect life, they will not protect marriage, they will not protect your taxes, they will not protect your security,” Clovis said. “They will not do that because they’re more interested in protecting their positions.”
Sam Clovis hears the rumblings that he is unlikely to win the GOP nomination, much less the general election. However, he relishes his role as the non-traditional candidate, who does not have the look of a prototypical politician.
“You’ll notice that most of the opponents I’ll have in this campaign will be taller, thinner, younger and better looking. And I hope you won’t hold any of them against them,” Clovis joked at the beginning of his speech.
Regardless of how he/she looks, the candidate that wins the GOP senate primary will have to a lot of traveling around the state, speaking to large and small groups, fielding questions from conservative activists and winning them over. That includes Johnson County, the most liberal county in Iowa.
“I think that the candidate that works the hardest, travels the most, visits with the most people is going to win,” said State Rep. Bobby Kaufmann, who said he is remaining neutral in the race. “I think that’s Iowa politics at it best, so I think he is showing the dedication, driving all the way across the state, showing the dedication and work ethic that he wants to be a real player in this race.”
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