MARION, IOWA – While Mitt Romney laid out his fiscal policy in Washington, D.C., Friday, his son, Josh Romney, campaigned on behalf of his father in Iowa today for the first time this campaign season, squeezing in a few plugs for his dad as he made phone calls for the campaign of Republican state Senate candidate, Cindy Golding.
“Let me have one more little plug. How’s this? In addition to Cindy, there’s another candidate running in January, on Jan. 3 - a guy named Mitt Romney. You heard of him I assume? Yeah, that’s my dad,” Josh Romney said as he made phone calls at Golding’s campaign headquarters prior to Tuesday’s special election in Linn County, Iowa. “I hope I can count on your support for my dad as well as Cindy.
“Two votes – one for Cindy and half a vote for Mitt, we’ll see,” Romney joked as he finished his first phone call. “He’s still a little on the fence. It’s early still.”
For the 2008 primary race, Romney’s five sons crisscrossed the country in the “Mitt Mobile,” a Winnebago featuring the words, “Five Brothers Bus,” across its side. Josh Romney separately drove through all 99 counties in Iowa, a feat he still boasts about despite only visiting two counties today as he campaigned for the first time in Iowa this year.
“I’m one of the few people in the world, I can say, who’s been to every county in Iowa, so I’ve been to all 99,” Josh told volunteers at Golding’s campaign headquarters. “I know Iowa well. I love Iowa. We love spending time here.”
Josh Romney, the third of Romney’s five sons, has already campaigned for his father this election cycle, most recently holding a debate watch party in Arizona last month. But the Romney campaign has dialed back its presence in Iowa compared to its intense statewide venture in the last presidential race, which resulted in a second place finish in the Iowa caucuses behind former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.
While making get-out-the-vote phone calls for Golding, Josh Romney reached three voters, who all committed to vote for Golding in Tuesday’s election.
“Can I get you to 100 percent? Free chocolates or anything I can do?” he asked one voter on the phone as he twirled a piece of chocolate wrapped in a paper featuring the Romney logo.
“Three for three,” Romney told Golding when he completed his round of get-out-the-vote phone calls. “And three votes for my dad, two-and-a-half maybe.”
As he mingled with members of the Linn Eagles Republican Club at a country club in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, later in the morning, several voters approached him saying they recognized him from his last time campaigning in Iowa.
“I remember you. I said, ‘Oh, he looks much taller now than before,’” Althea Hasse from Cedar Rapids said as she posed with Josh Romney for a picture.
“I’ve grown? There’s only one way I’m growing now,” Romney joked.
Hasse attended the luncheon with Emma Nemecek, who ran for a statehouse seat in 2008 and was described by one person as the “yard sign queen.” When Josh asked if she’d help post yard signs for his father, Nemecek hesitated to respond. She later told ABC News she was a Romney supporter in 2008 but is leaning towards Michele Bachmann this caucus season.
“Obviously, I’ll support Mitt if he wins the nomination,” Nemecek said.
“We’re campaigning hard in Iowa,” Josh Romney told ABC News after the luncheon. “Iowa’s an important primary state so we’re campaigning for that, but it’s also an important general election state, so we’re spending a lot of time here, working hard in Iowa, getting to know the voters again and reintroducing ourselves a little bit.”
Mitt Romney has only made two visits to the Hawkeye State this campaign and will make his third trip to Iowa Monday with events in Dubuque and Davenport. But despite the current tally of campaign stops in the state, Josh Romney insisted the campaign will maintain a strong presence in Iowa and perform well in the caucus in January.
“I hope he does well,” Josh Romney said. “We hope he finishes well and has a good showing and competes hard in the state.”
This evening, Josh Romney will fill in for his father at the Iowa Republican Party’s Ronald Reagan Dinner in Des Moines, Iowa, that will be attended by all the Republican presidential candidates except for the two frontrunners – Cain and Romney.