Monday, September 14, 2009

Senate Candidates Krause, Fiegen Work Steak Fry Crowd

Senate Candidates Krause, Fiegen Work Steak Fry

"He's gonna get the election of his life next year," State Treasurer Mike Fitzgerald said of Republican Senator Chuck Grassley. Fitzgerald got a big whoop from the crowd at Sunday's Tom Harkin steak fry.

The two main Democrats hoping to take on Grassley were also on hand, working the edges of the crowd hoping to gain an edge with the party faithful.

Former legislators Tom Fiegen and Bob Krause are hoping to give Grassley his first tough race since he was a challenger in 1980. But first they need to get past each other.

Bob Krause talks with a reporter before Sunday's Harkin Steak Fry.

Krause and Fiegen, neither of whom spoke from the podium, didn't have a negative word for each other Sunday, preferring to keep the focus on Grassley.

"Philosophically, we're very close," Krause said of Fiegen. "In terms of style, I'm a fairly aggressive campaigner."

"Every day is a gift," Fiegen said of Grassley. "Every town hall brought out a quote or an event and normal Iowans are saying, 'I'm embarrassed to be an Iowan, someone has to retire this guy.'"

"Grassley's polls keep going down, ka-thunk, ka-thunk, ka-thunk," said Krause. "He's getting close to 50 percent," a mark that generally is interpreted as trouble for an incumbent.

But a phantom hovers over the Senate primary: if Grassley's numbers dip low enough, someone better known than Krause or Fiegen may jump into the race.

"It's getting later," said Krause. "Labor Day is traditionally a benchmark. There's going to be a point where people will give the guys who were in there first some credit."

"I hear the rumors and there isn't anyone who scares me," said Fiegen. "I expect someone else to get in, but I can compete. It's just a question of organization and money."

Senate candidate Tom Fiegen greets Democrats following the steak fry.

"You have to make the case that Chuck Grassley needs to be retired to start," said Fiegen. "Next thing is to talk about your goals as a senator and with our Fiegenomics program we've done that."

Fiegen has knocked off a five term senator before--former Iowa Senate GOP leader Jack Rife in 2000. But redistricting truncated Fiegen's term. He lost a two-incumbent race in 2002 and a comeback attempt in 2004.

Krause's time in the legislature was in the 1970s, and he lost a bid for state treasurer in 1978.

Perennial candidate Sal Mohamed is also running. Having failed in his bids for Congress, governor and teh presidency (despite his constitutional ineligibility) with his patented sandwich board campaigning, Sal is trying to hit oh-fer the cycle with the Senate.

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