Iowa swing counties could be game changer come November - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Iowa swing counties could be game changer come November


You probably know Iowa is a swing state during this year's hotly contested presidential race.

Now, a new report by the Des Moines Register finds specifically there are a dozen Iowa counties that could ultimately decide if President Obama gets re-elected, or if Mitt Romney wins our state.

The swing counties have a history of voting both Democratic and Republican in past election cycles. 

Among those swing areas is one eastern Iowa swing county: Bremer County.  In the past four election cycles, it's gone Republican twice, and Democratic twice.  So in a close race this year, Bremer County votes are very much up for grabs.

Wartburg College is a cornerstone of Waverly, and Bremer County, and it's not just an economic and educational engine.

"People come to places like Wartburg and they express themselves.  And they're part of the political mix as well," said Dr. Fred Waldstein, Wartburg College professor of political science.

Wartburg contributes to the urban feel in Bremer County, and other parts of the county make the area a good sampling of voters statewide.

"Not a huge population base, but it is very representative of some of the larger population centers.  Then of course we have our rural areas tied closely to agriculture.  So it just does seem to be the kind of mix where we are a bellwether county for the state," Dr. Waldstein said.

So both Republicans and Democrats are pouring big efforts into the county to secure votes. The GOP sees encouraging signs that Iowa could go red for Romney.

"I know from watching the overall state numbers of registered Republicans to registered Democrats that Republicans have been gaining every month for the last 12-14 months," said Wes Gade, Bremer Co. Republicans.

But Democrats are confident that their campaigning will pay off, especially in getting Independent voters to vote Obama. 

"People's minds are changed by those conversations at the door, and that's what we've been working on for better than a year.  It's what we are prepared for, ramping up to on a weekly basis, and it's how we're going to turn Iowa blue," said Sue Dvorsky, Iowa Democratic Party Chair.

Dr. Waldstein expects the college vote will once again play a big role in the election's outcome, and Wartburg's campus will likely become campaign central when classes resume after Labor Day.

Both Democrats and Republicans say there's already a big campaigning effort underway in swing counties, from phone calls to door knocking, and advertising.  Those efforts will only ramp up as November gets closer.

Both parties also say swing counties will help decide other big races, too, like the first Congressional district contest between Republican Ben Lange and incumbent Democrat Bruce Braley.


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