Kentucky Senator Rand Paul campaigned for Republican candidates in eastern Iowa on Wednesday. Paul began his Iowa itinerary with a campaign rally with First District Congressional candidate Rod Blum on the campus of the University of Northern Iowa over the lunch hour. Around 200 people attended the rally, some members of the community, but most of those in attendance were students.
Blum is running for the First Congressional seat that is being vacated by Congressman Bruce Braley who is running for the U.S. Senate. Blum’s Democrat opponent is former Iowa Speaker of the House Pat Murphy. The First Congressional District has a sizable registered voter advantage for the Democrats, but before Braley took office in 2007, northeast Iowa was represented by Congressman Jim Nussle for years.
Bolstered by a young and energetic group of volunteers and campaign staffers, Blum has run a strong general election campaign. The combination of a hard-working candidate who is great on the stump and a staff that is constantly working hard has put race into play. Blum’s congressional bid has also been aided by the endorsement of the two largest newspapers in the District, the Cedar Rapids Gazette and the Dubuque Telegraph Herald.
Blum’s noon-time rally with Paul provided a glimpse of the hard charging campaign that he is running. While a member of the Paul family visiting a college campus in Iowa is nothing new, the Blum campaign scheduled the rally to coincide with satellite voting taking place on campus today. At the conclusion of the rally, those in attendance were reminded that they could go cast their vote in the other part of the student union.
Paul began his remarks by cracking a joke about how the First Lady repeatedly called Bruce Braley Bruce bailey during her last visit to Iowa. Michelle Obama got Braley’s name right in her visit yesterday, but the White House embarrassed itself again yesterday when it said that Braley was running for governor and not for the U.S. Senate.
Paul stuck to his normal talking points, focusing on individual liberty. He said that Democrats like to talk about income inequality, but never admit that it is worse under President Obama than it was during the years of his Republican predecessor. Paul also noted that income inequality is more prevalent in big cities where there are Democrat mayors than cities with Republican mayors.
As one would expect, Paul talked about protecting people’s right to privacy. “What you do or say on your cell phone is none of the government’s business,” Paul said to the enthusiastic crowd. He then explained that if the federal government has reason to monitor someone’s phone activity, they should be required to get a warrant.
Like Paul has done at events in Iowa before, he quoted Montesquieu, saying that when a president starts legislating, you have tyranny. Paul used the quote to address the immigration debate going on in Washington. Paul didn’t weigh in on either side of the debate, but said that whatever happens should be an act of congress and not the sole act of a president.
After Blum’s event at UNI on Wednesday, Paul headlined an event for State Representative Bobby Kaufmann before attending a rally at the University of Iowa with Republican U.S. Senate candidate Joni Ernst.