With hours to go before the first votes of the 2016 presidential election are cast, candidates raced across Iowa Sunday, making the political equivalent of closing arguments for why Iowans should pick them before the other 14 running.
“The reason why it’s so important you turn out Monday morning is because of what could happen if you don’t,” said former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Saturday.
“I think the excitement and the energy is with our campaign,” countered Sen. Bernie Sanders.
Republicans had similar words of caution.
“If we get this election wrong, there may be no turning back for America,” said Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, in Ames. “We cannot lose this election.”
Election Day: 5 things to watch for in Iowa Monday night
Special radio coverage: Tune in to AM 1290 and News 95.7 WHIO for live coverage starting at 8 p.m. Monday night. Stream it live at whio.com
Tight fight: Final poll shows race neck-and-neck on both sides
Endorsements: Kasich, Clinton win New York Times endorsement
Billionaire Donald Trump was, unsurprisingly, more blunt. “You have a lousy record,” he told a Council Bluffs crowd Sunday, referring to state Republicans’ choosing Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee during 2012 and 2008 caucuses. “Please pick a winner this time, okay? I’m going to win.”
Clinton and Sanders, who are in a razor-thin race among Democrats, held competing rallies in Des Moines Sunday night, with Clinton appearing at Lincoln High School and Sanders appearing miles away at Grand View University, a small private college.
Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz, meanwhile, were also neck-and-neck in a battle for Republicans, with Rubio hoping to make a respectable finish in third.
Behind the candidate appearances and the packed crowds are highly-organized crews of volunteers canvassing neighborhoods, researching voters, and trying to find out how best to make their voters turn out. Sanders, for one, has some 15,000 volunteers in the state. And Rubio, meanwhile, has ramped up his efforts on the airwaves, with TV ads aiming to appeal to evangelicals, a strong voting block in the state.
One of the few candidates who wasn’t in the state Sunday was Ohio Gov. John Kasich. Kasich, who is focused on the more moderate New Hampshire voter, was in the state Wednesday through Friday, but flew to New Hampshire in time for the weekend. While he’s come in second in some polls in New Hampshire, he lingers near the bottom of most polls in Iowa.
Speaking on Sunday Morning Futures with Maria Bartiromo Sunday, he acknowledged that Iowa was a hurdle for him, saying “the problem with Iowa is it’s so big.”
“I mean, there are five media markets and it’s just impossible for me to put the time in there and the time in New Hampshire,” he said.
In New Hampshire meanwhile, “there’s 1.3 million people in New Hampshire and they’re all sort of condensed. You can stand in the middle of New Hampshire and hit most of the state with a stone. In Iowa, you have to fly all over the place.”
In Iowa, voters are taking the responsibility of being first in the nation very seriously.
Pam McPeak of Ames has seen Rubio, former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, among others. On Saturday morning, she went to hear Cruz speak in Ames. “He’s in our top two,” she said of Cruz.
McPeak said she felt obligated to learn as much about the candidates as she could. “Iowa may or may not choose the next president,” she said. “We are here to get the ball rolling. And we really do care.”
Kasich superPAC raised $4M in January from 6 donors
An independent organization backing the presidential candidacy Kasich reported having just $1.9 million available in its treasury at the end of last year, according to reports filed Sunday with the Federal Election Commission.
Although Politico.com reported the organization – a superPAC called New Day for America – had raised an additional $4 million this month from six wealthy donors, the report filed today counted only money the organization had collected through the end of December.
Even with the $4 million, New Day is lagging far behind Conservative Solutions, a superPAC supporting the candidacy of Florida Sen. Marco Rubio. Conservative Solutions reported having $13.9 million in available cash to spend at the end of the year.
According to the reports, New Day raised $3.45 million during the final three months of last year compared to $14.4 million collected by Conservative Solutions during that same period.
Throughout the final months of last year, New Day collected $250,000 apiece from Abigail Wexner, wife of The Limited founder Leslie H. Wexner; Michael Goguen, a venture capitalist from New York, and the Wendt Family Trust of California, which appears to headed by Greg Wendt, an executive at an investment management organization.
In addition, Albert Ratner, co-chairman emeritus of Forest City in Cleveland donated nearly $70,000; Robert Schottenstein of Columbus donated $44,600, and Stanley Druckenmiller, a self-made hedge fund billionaire from New York, contributed $150,000.
According to Politico, Abigail Wexner and Greg Wendt are one of the six donors who helped contribute $4 million to New Day after the December 31 filing deadline.
(Jack Torry contributed to this report.)
Thank you for reading the Dayton Daily News and for supporting local journalism. Subscribers: log in for access to your daily ePaper and premium newsletters.
Thank you for supporting in-depth local journalism with your subscription to the Dayton Daily News. Get more news when you want it with email newsletters just for subscribers. Sign up here.