Northwest Iowa Democrats Start S.O.L.O Group
(O'BRIEN COUNTY, IA) It's grass roots politics -- the Iowa Caucuses happen Tuesday night.
It may not be a presidential election year but that doesn't stop Republicans and Democrats from gathering to figure out what's important to them and how to get what they want.
Besides the caucuses, in Northwest Iowa, Democrats in four counties have also decided to join forces in that highly Republican area in order to drum up support for their candidates and views.
We caught up with the O'Brien County party chair to see how they're fighting an uphill battle.
Republicans in Northwest Iowa reign supreme -- at least in terms of registered voters. O'Brien County republicans have a 41% edge over Democrats. In Lyon and Osceola County that percentage is 56, and in Sioux county the number is 64.
"The four county region up in this area has always been strong Republican because we vote. We have the people get out and vote. They believe in voting and we have a high turn out in votes and we've said to a number, even the governors who run for the Republican Party, if you don't win Northwest Iowa you're not going to win," said Tom Farnsworth, the Finance Chair for the Republican Party in O'Brien County.
"I don't think we're going to be electing a Democratic senator from my area real soon to go down to the state house but every vote counts and my vote counts just as much as somebody's vote in Des Moines. So, when you're looking at the Governors race or the 4th district congressional race, our votes count and we need to let democrats know that we're not forgotten," said Kim Weaver, the Chair of the Democratic Party in O'Brien County.
Which is why Weaver is teaming up with three other counties, forming an alliance if you will, called S.O.L.O - for Sioux, O'Brien, Lyon, and Osceola. Weaver says it's hard getting a democratic candidate up to the 4 county region.
Take Christie Vilsack for example. Last year, after combining support from all 4 counties Weaver says Vilsack made a campaign stop just for them.
"We got just over a hundred people to show up and the people at the Iowa Democratic Party were pretty excited about, 'wow there's a hundred people that will show up and go to an event?' And so that was a lot of fun," she said.
S.O.L.O's first event was this past weekend.
We had a wonderful turnout, amazing turn out. All the tables were full. Probably had just under 100 people, which considering we were under a winter weather advisory most of that day, it's pretty surprising we had as many show up as we did," said Weaver.
But the Republican Party in O'Brien County is sticking to its game plan saying Democrats don't have a fighting chance at taking over in Northwest Iowa.
"Not in this area," said Farnsworth.
During the caucuses tonight, Weaver says the party's goal is to keep Tom Harkin's seat in the U.S. Senate by getting Bruce Braley elected and growing support for Jim Mowrer's campaign against Steve King.
While Republicans are focused on getting a Republican into the Senate alongside Chuck Grassley.