The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

GOP candidates to crowd into Des Moines


The Republican cattle call will return on Saturday.

This time around, organizers of the first-ever Growth and Opportunity Party say this won’t be a typical marathon of stump speeches.

“We don’t want this to be the kind of thing where you sit down and listen to speeches for six hours,” Iowa GOP spokesman Charlie Szold said. “We want it to be a little more exciting than the average multi-candidate event.” The event, hosted by the Republican Party of Iowa, will bring 10 Republican presidential hopefuls to the Varied Industries Building on the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines.

Each candidate will get 15 minutes to speak on stage, and the campaigns and political activist groups, including the National Rifle Association, will have booth space to further interact with potential 2016 Republican caucus-goers.

In addition to the political rhetoric, children will have the opportunity to trick-or-treat among the booths, the NRA will raffle off a firearm, and Smoky D’s Barbecue, a popular spot in Des Moines, will bring the food.

The candidates who have confirmed their attendance include Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, former Pennsylvania Sen. and 2012 Iowa caucus winner Rick Santorum, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Sens. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, Rand Paul, R-Ky., Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and former Arkansas Gov. and 2008 Iowa caucus winner Mike Huckabee.

The two candidates currently polling the highest in Iowa, former neurosurgeon Ben Carson and businessman Donald Trump, are absent from the list because of scheduling conflicts, Szold said.

“I think it’s a mistake that those two front-runners aren’t going to be there,” said Gary Nystrom, the Boone County Republican Central Committee head.

He said that may hurt the candidates who skip the event.

“Everyone has plans and things to do, but with Iowa being fortunate enough to be the first- in-the-nation caucus, that’s a pretty important thing,” he said. “This event was put together by [the Republican Party of Iowa] for the full intent to make the candidates available to the voting public who are going to be at the caucuses.”

But others said this will just push the two candidates to keep Iowa in their itineraries.

“I think that they will have to rely on other opportunities to stay present in the state of Iowa and have their message get out to voters,” said Will Rogers, the head of the Polk County Republican Central Committee.

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