Palin's visit valuable for Iowa Republican Party - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Palin's visit valuable for Iowa Republican Party

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -- A controversial political figure stopped in Iowa Friday night, headlining a major GOP fundraiser. Sarah Palin addressed more than 1,000 Republicans at the annual Ronald Reagan Dinner in Des Moines.

Tickets to this event are almost as in-demand as a Hawkeye football game. But several Black Hawk County Republicans managed to secure their seats early. As one volunteer explained, Palin's visit is valuable to the Republican Party for more reasons than one.

"We may eat, sleep, and dream politics, but every once in awhile you gotta have a break!" joked Chelle Adkins.

Adkins took a much needed break Friday. But the republican can't quite escape politics. She had the entire day off work, and used it to head to the state capitol.

"I had always hoped she would eventually make a stop in Iowa. And when I actually got the email announcing she was coming to Iowa I thought great! Automatically I asked for the day off so I could get ready and drive down to Des Moines," said Adkins.

Adkins has a coveted ticket to see Palin speak at the Reagan Dinner.

"It's just really motivating. I remember I saw her at the National Convention back in 2008 and I was motivated just hearing her speak. It really fired me up," she explained.

If you ask this seasoned campaign volunteer, Palin picked the right event for her return to Iowa.

"Right about the time the Reagan dinner comes around, people are really starting to get tired. I think everybody can take something away from her speech, whether its empowering us to get our country turned around and make the government work for us again, or whether its just motivating our volunteers to get out there and fight for what's important," said Adkins.

So, the big question: Does this visit mark the beginning of a presidential campaign?

"It's really hard to tell. It's a long way from now, and I think Republicans are just focused on the 2010 campaign," Adkins noted.

Adkins received a complimentary pass for her work on the State Central Committee. For those who can't afford the $100 ticket, the GOP offered a sort-of work exchange program. Anyone who volunteered 12 hours calling from local headquarters could get a regular ticket, 24 hours earned VIP rights. Adkins, however, doesn't know of anyone from Black Hawk County who took them up on the offer.

Past speakers at the Reagan dinner include Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee, and former New York Governor George Pataki. Many of the headliners have gone on to run for the White House, but no one has made it to the presidency.

Online Reporter Colleen O'Shaughnessy

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