Stacy Silverman has never worked in politics before. But in the past five months, Silverman has made two trips to Iowa and one to New Hampshire, and she will make another trip to Iowa this weekend.
An assistant professor with the communications science and disorders program at MU, Silverman will travel to Iowa, just in time for Monday’s caucuses, to canvass for the Democrat who she favors in the presidential race: Missouri native Dick Gephardt.
Other area residents will also be going to Iowa this weekend to get the word out about their favorite Democratic nominees for the 2004 election.
The Iowa caucuses, which take place Monday for Democrats, occur at nearly 2,000 precincts across the state. Analysts expect nearly 120,000 residents to turn out and agree that a candidate needs at least 30,000 votes to win the caucus. Since 1972, the eventual nominee from each party has finished in the top three in Iowa.
“Iowa is the state that gets the ball rolling,” said Kyle Ronat, a local supporter of former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean. “It’s the first one; it’s where all the headlines come from.”
Local Democrats have prepared for the caucuses in different ways. Dick Gephardt’s campaign will send a variety of high-profile Missouri Democrats to Iowa to canvass on his behalf, including Gov. Bob Holden, former U.S. Sen. Jean Carnahan and state Auditor Claire McCaskill.
Volunteers will be “knocking on doors, making phone calls to remind voters of the caucuses, and giving people rides to the polls on caucus night,” said Jason Norton, Gephardt’s campaign director in Missouri. The Gephardt campaign expects to send nearly 1,500 Missouri volunteers to Iowa.
At least seven local Dean supporters are heading to Iowa to get the word out about the former Vermont governor. They will be going door-to-door, working phone banks and canvassing. Trip organizer Ronat said the Iowa experience will be preparation for the Missouri primary on Feb. 3.
“All the positive energy they get, they’re going to bring right back here in time for our primary,” Ronat said. “I think as long as we get the Dean message out there, we have a better chance of winning, because he has a good vision for our country.”
According to Dean’s Iowa headquarters, the campaign has sent more than 3,500 volunteers to Iowa in the weeks leading up to the caucuses.
Poll results fluctuate daily. Although Dean has had a long-standing lead over his seven opponents in Iowa, he slipped to tie Gephardt for second place, according to the latest poll from MSNBC and Reuters. Both Dean and Gephardt fell just shy of John Kerry, who had a narrow lead of 21.6 percent.
The rolling poll of 502 likely caucus-goers was taken Monday through Wednesday and has a margin of error of 4.5 percent.