Posted: 5:12 pm Monday, November 3rd, 2014
By Jamie Dupree
From Ottumwa, Iowa
Urging on his supporters, Democrat Bruce Braley barnstormed across the Hawkeye State one final time on Monday, telling reporters he remains optimistic that he can keep this Senate seat in the hands of Democrats, and help block Republicans from an important win on Election Day.
“Let’s get out and get to work!” Braley said to applause as he addressed campaign workers and volunteers in Ottumwa, Iowa.
At his Ottumwa stop, Braley told his backers to squeeze out every vote possible, as he pulled a copy of the famous “Dewey Defeats Truman” photo from 1948 out of his coat jacket pocket.
And he was more than happy to show it off to reporters as well.
Before Braley arrived, the office was humming with activity, volunteers making phone calls, going out to canvass certain precincts and coordinating a last minute blitz of organizational work.
“That Joni Ernst is just a Tea Party Republican,” one volunteer told me as he quizzed me about my work.
Like his Republican opponent Joni Ernst, Braley urged his backers to go everywhere they could to find supporters and make sure they get to the polls on Election Day.
Meanwhile, both sides were poring over the data of who has already voted in Iowa, as Democrats continue to hold a slight lead in terms of returned ballots.
But, the data shows the Democrats may have more votes on the sidelines.
A key question in #Iowa: Of the 88K mail ballots that were requested but not returned, 43% are Dems & 26% Republicans. How many are cast?
— Taniel (@Taniel) November 3, 2014
Democrat ballot advantage in Iowa now stands at 7,801 with one day to go. Was 18,627 in 2010. http://t.co/PMmVXCHID3
— John Ekdahl (@JohnEkdahl) November 3, 2014
While I was in the Ottumwa Democratic Party headquarters, several volunteers were busily working their way through phone lists to find more people who had taken out ballots, but had not yet submitted their vote.
“Oh, I see. I see,” said one man with a disappointed sound in his voice.
After hanging up, he told his colleague that the woman on the other end of the line had said she was tired of both parties, and had thrown her ballot in the trash.
But other calls hit pay dirt, all part of the final hours of a ground game that may well determine control of the U.S. Congress.
“The only poll that counts is the one that happens on Election Day when they tabulate all the ballots,” said Braley.
Former Iowa Governor and current U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack told Braley volunteers of how he had won 16 years ago, even though the polls showed him behind.
A few hours later, Vilsack was sitting in the same airport waiting area as this reporter, going back to D.C., his help for Braley now over.
We’ll see Tuesday if it was worth it or not.