Big names campaign for Iowa U.S. Senate candidates - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Big names campaign for Iowa U.S. Senate candidates

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -

The race for U.S. Senate is neck and neck between Bruce Braley and Joni Ernst.

Both campaigns are getting some high-profile help this weekend.

But will that translate into more votes for either candidate?

First Lady Michelle Obama campaigned Friday in Des Moines for Democrat Bruce Braley.

Mitt Romney will be in Iowa Sunday and Monday touting Republican Joni Ernst.

And there's still another three weeks to go in a very close race.

When Michelle Obama gave a hug to Braley and took the stage at Drake University Friday, she became the latest high-profile political figure to get involved in the campaign for U.S. Senate.

After misspeaking Braley's name, the mostly college-age crowd corrected her.

Still, she's someone political experts say can get Democrats motivated.

"For the Democrats, given the way the Senate race is trending toward a much tighter race than they anticipated, having someone like the First Lady out who reminds people to get excited, who reminds people about the election, it rekindles some of the good feelings they had about the party in 2008 and 2012," said political analyst Chris Larimer.

Larimer says it differs from a visit by someone like a Chris Christie, who may be positioning himself for a Presidential bid in two years.

But does a big name on the campaign trail make a difference in this election?

"It's helpful for Republicans. It gives them more reason to turn out and it continues to help with fundraising. For Democrats, it's needed more because you get the sense things are trending to Republicans in races like the Senate race so having someone like the First Lady is important for Democrats to get the base motivated to vote, if they haven't voted already," said Larimer.

Political experts say a handful of Senate races will determine the balance of power in the Senate.

That's why we probably will see more big names come through Iowa in the next three and a half weeks.

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