DUBUQUE, Iowa—Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is turning out in heavily Democratic areas of Iowa on the day before the first in the nation caucuses in a bid to convince disgruntled Democrats to back him on Tuesday night.
Romney packed a paper warehouse in this heavily Democratic county with roughly 400 supporters — and an informal survey found many former Obama supporters in the crowd.
Dubuque County turned out over three to one for the Democratic caucus in 2008, but Romney is depending on crossovers from these Democratic enclaves to help seal the deal.
Romney did a swing through Republican Western Iowa over the weekend, but is devoting the final 48 hours before the caucus to soliciting votes in the bluer East and Center of the Hawkeye State.
One Obama 2008 voter from Dubque (Obama won the county), said he was here shopping around the other candidates, because “you would have to be a bumbling idiot to be satisfied with how things are.”
After seeing Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich, the voter, who wouldn’t give his name so as not to upset his Obama-supporting daughter, said he had decided to support Romney. “He’s the best option we have to take on Obama,” he said.
Others, like Ray and JoAnn Weigel of Dubuque, were Romney backers in 2008, when he won the county by 42 percent in a crowded field. “We’ve seen the others come through, but nothing changed our minds,” Ray said.
With social conservatives and tea partiers who make up a major bloc of caucus-goers split among Ron Paul, Rick Santorum, and the rest of the field, Romney has a wide-open path to capturing moderates and cross-overs — and if he wins tomorrow they’ll probably be why.