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Candidates, third-party supporters in Iowa’s SD 18 race calling voters

Voters in Iowa Senate District 18 head to the polls today to decide between Republican Cindy Golding and Democrat Liz Mathis. But phones in the district have been ringing for days as the candidates and third-party supporters hope to sway and influence voters in their direction.

Below are a few audio samples of what residents in SD 18 have been hearing. They are arranged in the order that they were received by voters.

This initial clip appears to be one of the first robocalls that went out to voters and features a local teacher who explains why she is supporting Mathis.

This robocall, which began late last week, features former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who is calling on behalf of the Citizens United Political Victory Fund in support of Golding.

Our third call is also in support of Golding and was paid for by the Republican Party of Iowa. The female caller attacks Mathis’ “hidden” support for repeal of the state’s right to work law and, apparently taking a page from 2012 GOP controversies, implies that, if Mathis is elected, state tax money will be used to send illegal immigrants to college.

The final robocall in our sample began circulation Tuesday morning and features candidate Mathis talking about her plans for education and encouraging voters to head to the polls before they close at 9 p.m.

Generally, the calls coming into to SD 18 households have mirrored numerous direct mailings. That is, the Mathis campaign and the Iowa Democratic Party are largely doing outreach that focuses on Mathis and her proposals. Mailers and these most recent calls from those the right have employed much more of an offensive strategy.

For those interested in how the election is going, the Linn County Auditor’s Office has developed a special election day page that provides polling place information as well as voter turnout. As of 11 a.m., roughly 6.5 percent of all registered voters in the county had visited their polling place. A more accurate gauge of voter interest might be to look only at the precincts in the city of Marion, which is the largest city within SD 18. During the 2009 elections, which were largely not controversial, 418 people (about 2 percent) had cast their ballot by 11 a.m. For this election, 2,134 voters (about 8.5 percent) visited the polls by 11 a.m.

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