Deep in the summer doldrums between the primary and a genneral election now less than 100 days away, politics has grown fairly quiet in the local area. But leaders of both local parties say their candidates are ready to step it up a notch, and both fear that the other will instigate a mudslinging battle for the White House. "It's going to get ugly - no doubt about it," says Buena Vista County Democrats leader Matt Pearson.
As the presidential candidates have largely moved on to other regions after the Iowa caucuses, the local parties have both busied themselves with canvassing and finances. But campaign signs are beginning to sprout from the local lawns, a first sign of a busy fall campaign season on the way.
Both parties have seen local and state candidates pressing the flesh in the Star Spangled Spectacular parade, BV County Fair and Sioux Rapid's Tall Corn Days parade.
"At this point I don't see anything bad going on with the campaigns," says BV Republican chair Dennis Weber. "But that can change in a heartbeat." Weber says he feels the State candidates are doing well in the campaigns and continue to keep the county Republicans involved and informed.
Weber says he was a little surprised with the shortage of people running for the specific offices in the county. "People don't seem to be willing to make the commitment that's involved," he says. "And it is a commitment."
Gary Launderville is running for sheriff, without any opposition from either party, as current Sheriff Chuck Eddy retires.
Jan Alderton and Rhonda Riggenberg are running for County Supervisors in their specific districts. Autitor Karen Strawn is running unapposed for another term. Both Gary Worthan and Steve Kettering are running to retain their state legislature positions for the GOP. "I think everything is pretty well set at this point," Weber says.
Once the presidential candidates announce their running mates, Weber says he feels the country will see even more activity - and there is likely to be rekindled interest in the campaigns locally.
Weber says he himself feels the Presidential election is going well, however, can't resist a partisan jab - saying that he feels that Senator McCain has shown more leadership experience throughout the campaign which he says is what the country needs. "I don't feel he's (Obama) experienced enough to be a leader at this point but I guess the American people will decide on that," Weber says. He says he is happy to see that Senator McCain is talking about reducing taxes and drilling off shore for oil, issues he thinks will be important to northwest Iowa voters.
Matt Pearson, Chair of the BV Democrats says the local candidates as well as local supporters have been hitting the campaign trail hard this summer. John Fitzpatrick and Don Altena are running for County Supervisors, though campaigning can be difficult as voters countywide are needed.
"Even though County Supervisors must live in a specific district, they are actually elected at large countywide," says Pearson.
Ron Hubler who is running against Steve King for Congress for Iowa's Fifth District has been in Buena Vista County twice this summer, says Pearson. Russ Camerer is running for Worthan's seat as a state representative.
Pearson says he personally is looking forward to the presidential debates. He says he also hopes to see a debate go down between Ron Hubler and Steven King. "Ron Hubler can do a really good job of debating him (King) and showing that Steve King is not representational of Iowa and Iowa values. Steve King has actually lost touch with what makes Iowa great."
As the campaigns continue on this summer Pearson says he feels Senator McCain is getting more and more off track. "It does appear that McCain is going negative already," he says. "Obama is countering without going negative which is really good."
The local Democrat leader levels a few jabs of his own. He says he feels McCain makes claims that Obama wouldn't make a good president by "using lies and subjects that aren't part of the issues."
"It's going to get ugly," he says. "No question about that."
As Election Day nears both County groups say they will be pushing hard to canvass by knocking on doors as well as continuing to get the word out at parades and other area events and making sure people are registered to vote.
Pearson says they'll continue to push the agenda. Getting people to the polls they say is another important aspect. "It's (voting) a privilege we have and shouldn't give that up," he says.
Weber says the County Republicans are planning to have a local campaign headquarters and will also push hard for a goof turnout.
Weber says they are encouraging those who can't come out to vote to vote by mail, it's one way to receive a few less phone calls, he says. "We'll be making plenty of phone calls the last few days before the election (to get people out to vote.)"
* The views in this article are the personal views of the individuals, and are not intended to represent those of the county parties, the two leaders note.