Primary Day

I just got back from the Inger-Dahl’s (Dahl’s grocery store on Ingersol for those of you who don’t live in DSM) where I bought coffee for the office pot and ran into Becky Beach, GOP behind-the-scenes person who’s a FOBF (Friend of Bush Family).  She had a cart load of pop, and the cell phone was glued to her ear.  She was standing among the pastry items, and told whomever she was talking to that she had just voted.  If you’re working at the campaign office where the goodies she was buying are bound, I can tell you there were some nice muffins and apple turn-overs but no monster cookies in the store but she hadn’t picked her pastry goods at the time I ran into her. 

In chatting with folks who’ve voted as well as the folks who run the polling sites, I can tell you that turn-out can be described somewhere between light to non-existent so far today.  As for which gubernatorial candidate will come out on top, I have no prediction. 

Culver has the old-guard of the party behind him, and his dad (who has been featured in campaign ads) set foot on the campaign trail last night.  Blouin has the most aggressive union in the state behind him (AFSCME).  They helped Tom Vilsack win in 1998 but did a dismal job for Howard Dean in 2004, so it’s anybody’s guess as to what union backing means.  The unions have something to prove, but whether they choose this particular election as their proving ground is yet to be decided.  Register reporter Tim Higgins told me yesterday that Fallon had two people shiow up at a Waterloo event on Saturday — Higgins and another reporter there to interview Fallon and cover the "event."  This morning Radio Iowa’s Dar Danielson caught up with Fallon at a cafe in Des Moines.  It was just Fallon and a handfull of other people who were eating.  Perhaps the Fallonistas are on the phones or did that cadre of committed volunteers evaporate?

The really interesting race this season has turned out to be in the first congressional district.  Grant Veeder, the Black Hawk County Auditor, just predicted turn-out in Bruce Braley’s back yard would be between 15 and 20 percent.  That’s the same turn-out prediction Auditor Denise Dolan is making for Dubuque County, Rick Dickinson’s home area.  Scott County’s Auditor hasn’t returned my call yet, so I can’t tell you what turn-out’s like in the Quads where Mike Whalen in the GOP primary should pull hometown votes.  Scott County Auditor Karen Fitzsimmons said during an interview at 12:35 p.m. that turn-out was light in her county.  She predicts 10 percent county-wide turn-out. Bill Dix is from Butler County and that County’s Auditor has a weblink to results from today’s voting, but nothing’s been posted yet.

Polk County Auditor Michael Mauro (who is running unopposed for Sec of State) says turn-out has been light in Iowa’s most populated county.  Very few Polk County Republicans have voted.  He predicts about 22,000 Democrats will cast a ballot in today’s primary.  There are about 99,000 Democrats in Polk County, so that’s pretty low.

In another interesting development, Dusky Terry — the Sec of Ag candidate who has worked in the Vilsack’s administration — will be at Mike Blouin’s election night headquarters.  The Vilsackers stick together, apparently.  Won’t it be interesting if Governor TV and Christie show up at Blouin’s HQ if Blouin pulls off the upset tonight?  No word on where Vilsack is today, or whether he voted in Mount P.  His public schedule shows nothing for today.  Vilsack was in Pittsburg yesterday speaking at a wind energy conference.  Rodell Mollineau, Vilsack’s director of communications, said in an email sent as 12:13 p.m. that “Vilsack voted by absentee ballot.  He is here in Des Moines having a regular office day.”

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About O.Kay Henderson

O. Kay Henderson is the news director of Radio Iowa.