By Julia Shanahan
Roughly a dozen Republicans caucused in the Iowa City Public Library on the evening of Feb. 5.
Of those participants, most supported incumbent Gov. Kim Reynolds, according to the number of signatures on the nomination papers.
“I think since it’s not a presidential year, a lot of the time [turnout] is low,” said interim precinct chair Julie Peters. She is married to Republican congressional candidate Chris Peters, who is running against Democratic incumbent Dave Loebsack for the 2nd District seat in Congress.
Peters said she attended to support for her husband and to fill in as a caucus chair for her precinct. She said she supports a lot people, but she wasn’t certain if anyone stands a chance against Reynolds.
“I think it would be hard,” Peters said. “She’s very likable, she’s intelligent, she conscientious, she’s a woman, and has a lot of things going for her.”
Matthew Triplett of Dallas County said he was happy to be in Johnson County because it is known for him as being a Democratic stronghold. Triplett liked to see the mix of ages and genders.
He said he thinks Reynolds has the election locked up. He said he has worked with Reynolds in the Republican Party, and his grandparents served in the Branstad administration.
“I have seen her go out there and do her thing campaigning-wise, so I do think even though she was working under Branstad, she knows what she’s doing,” Triplett said.
Triplett said he knows Dallas County is largely Republican and typically sees a higher turnout.
Mark Decker, a resident of Iowa City and the head of Johnson County Republicans, said the night was important because it was the start of an organizational political process.
“Theoretically at least, parties are designed from the grass-roots up, and this is the start of that process,” Decker said.
Decker said in 2014, when Branstad was running for re-election, he worked hard to encourage people to show up and to run for convention delegates. Decker said that he has received a lot of postcards in the mail from the Reynolds’ campaign and sees that she is trying to do the same.
“I get the impression that most people I talk to are Reynolds’ supporters,” Decker said.
This was true for the Iowa City Public Library precinct. Decker said that he doesn’t see any other Republican candidate being able to compete against the incumbent.
“Corbett is a well-known figure, but I don’t think anyone thinks he could beat Kim Reynolds,” Decker said.