Missouri Republicans stump for candidates in Iowa

Thursday, January 3, 2008

WASHINGTON -- Two of Missouri's top Republicans are spending time in Iowa this week to stump for candidates ahead of the first-in-the nation presidential caucuses.

Sen. Kit Bond made four stops across Iowa on Wednesday to speak at rallies, greet volunteers and visit a phone bank as he campaigns for former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani.

Meanwhile, Missouri Gov. Matt Blunt was heading to Iowa today to help Mitt Romney's campaign. Blunt, one of Romney's earlier supporters, planned to visit Romney's campaign office in Urbandale, give interviews to several Iowa radio stations and speak at two caucuses in the Des Moines area.

"He may even do a little get-out-the-vote work, too," Blunt spokesman John Hancock said.

A busload of about 50 Missouri volunteers for Romney spent the weekend in Iowa to hand out pamphlets, make phone calls and attend rallies, said Missouri House Speaker Rod Jetton, R-Marble Hill, another Romney supporter who helped organize the trip.

"They did some literature drops, made a lot of phone calls. Just your normal get-out-the-vote type of activities," said Jetton, who did not accompany the group.

The stakes are higher in Iowa for Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, who is vying for first place in the contest with former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee.

Giuliani won't be anywhere near Iowa in the final hours before the caucuses today. While he runs strong in national surveys, Giuliani polls in the single digits in Iowa. He'll spend tonight in Florida, where he hopes to win that state's Jan. 29 primary before moving on to other delegate-rich states.

That includes Missouri, one of more than 20 states holding primaries or caucuses Feb. 5. Bond, who serves as chairman of Giuliani's Missouri campaign, praised Giuliani's national strategy and cheered him as a candidate who can attract Republicans, Democrats and independents across the country.

"Rudy Giuliani is the tested leader America needs to fight the challenge of our time -- terrorism," Bond said.

Bond has also lent some of his political staff to help Giuliani's Missouri campaign.

At least 80,000 Republicans and 130,000 Democrats in Iowa are expected to participate in caucuses at nearly 1,800 precincts tonight.

On the Democratic side, State Auditor Susan Montee plans to head to New Hampshire today to campaign for Illinois Sen. Barack Obama. Missouri Democratic Party spokesman Jack Cardetti said Montee is the only Democrat in statewide office traveling out of state to campaign for a presidential candidate.

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