The gift bag for politicians who stopped by to chat up Iowa delegates this week included a lapel pin, stationery with a drawing of the state’s iconic gold-domed Capitol — and a fold-up map of Iowa’s 99 counties, a nod to the fact that the race for the 2016 presidential campaign has begun.
The main purpose of the Democratic National Convention was the renomination of President Obama, but outside the convention hall, candidates eyeing the open Democratic primary in 2016 wooed party activists and showered attention on the states that hold the early voting contests. Few states received as much attention as Iowa and New Hampshire.
“I hate to say that we’re used to it, because we really appreciate it and we really pay attention,” said Dennis Roseman, a delegate from Iowa City and a retired university professor. “It’s an honor to be honored with such great speakers. Each one is twice as good as the one before.”
Or, as Clarksville delegate Kai Brost, put it: “Our Iowa delegation is a little bit spoiled.”
On Wednesday morning, underneath a white tent in a hotel parking lot here, Sen. Mark R. Warner of Virginia, Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley came through, professing their love for Iowa and its people.