Friday, June 06, 2008

Hubler Says Obama Buoys Democrats In Western Iowa

Democratic congressional candidate Rob Hubler says Barack Obama’s strength in western Iowa — as well as a national instinct for change and cellar-basement approval numbers for President Bush — have turned a usually secure Republican district into contested terrain.

“What it really means is that people are waking up to what the Bush-McCain-King machine has done,” Hubler, the 5th District Democratic candidate, said in Carroll.

Speaking to a crowd of about 50 people at a Democratic fund-raiser at a South Side Park shelterhouse, Hubler said 10 percent of politics is experience and 90 percent good fortune.

He sees this as a particularly strong year for Democrats in which U.S. Rep. Steve King, R-Kiron, could be upset after the conservative posted strong general election numbers in his three previous elections.

“There cannot be a better year to run as a Democrat,” Hubler said. “Each Republican district in the United States is in play.”

A day earlier, U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, who was swept into Congress as part of a post-Watergate Democratic surge, said he sees parallels between 1974 and 2008.
“It sure feels that way,” Harkin said. “This feels a lot like when I came here in 1974.”

Harkin served in the U.S. House before being elected to the Senate in 1984.

Hubler, who has been campaigning for more than a year, says he is hearing Republicans and independents express concerns about King who has developed a national reputation for making outrageous remarks of the conservative radio talk-show variety.

“This is going to be a referendum on our congressman,” Hubler said.

And the Bush economy, Hubler said.

“We are worse off now than we were eight years ago,” he said.

Hubler, who caucused for U.S. Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., for president in January and employs a former Biden staffer as his campaign manager, is now firmly behind his party’s presumptive nominee, U.S. Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill.

In fact, Hubler said, he sees Obama as the best presidential candidate to buoy his own fortunes because of the Illinoisan’s appeal to Republicans and independents in Iowa against U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., the Republican presidential candidate.

“Absolutely, absolutely, there’s no doubt about it,” Hubler said when asked if Obama was the best of the Democratic field to have at the top of western Iowa tickets.

Hubler, 64, a retired Presbyterian minister from Council Bluffs and Navy veteran, said King may in fact be more vulnerable than U.S. Rep. Tom Latham in Iowa’s 4th District, where the Republican incumbent faces Democrat Becky Greenwald who had a strong primary showing.

“Latham does not have that national reputation,” Hubler said. “He’s not off the wall.”
Hubler said he’s spoken to party leaders in Iowa about giving attention to western Iowa, often neglected by Democrats in recent years.

He said Democrats will have a vigorous coordinated campaign in western Iowa with nearly 30 staffers on the ground.

“That was the topic of conversation,” Hubler said of a recent meeting with Democratic leaders in Des Moines. “There is a district between Des Moines and Nebraska.”

This story first appeared at Iowa

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