Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Patel Movin' On Up

Patel Movin' On Up

Don't call this one Just Another Student Campaign: Raj Patel kicked off his city council campaign at a dee-luxe apartment in the sky: the Hotel Vetro penthouse home of Marc Moen and Bobby Jett.

Patel hopes to be the first student elected to the Iowa City council in 32 years but said "people don't just want a young person, they want the right young person."

Patel, 20, is currently the student liaison to the city council, a non-voting position. He said he plans to work in his family's hotel business after graduation and pledged to stay in Iowa City, pre-empting the frequent "graduate and gone" criticism of young Iowa City candidates.

Host Moen said that while he and Jett often open their home for charitable events, political events are rare. "The only other candidate we've had here is Joe Biden" during the 2007 caucus season, said Moen. (Which officially makes the event a big f&#@%n' deal.)

The mostly young crowd, which included the chairs of both the University Democrats and College Republicans, dressed up for the event. There was a good size crowd of more traditional aged city election voters; Supervisor Janelle Rettig was spotted.

The venue alone was a draw, as perfect early fall weather late afternoon shadows gave Patel a dramatic backdrop.

But in addition to the personal hospitality, Moen's support for Patel sends a strong signal. The very public backing from downtown's leading developer shows that Patel has already gone further than any young candidate in recent memory in establishing a base within the non-student community.

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