Sunday, December 16, 2007 6:05 AM CST
Candidates court black vote
By JENS MANUEL KROGSTAD, Courier Staff Writer
WATERLOO --- A diverse field of presidential candidates, combined with aggressive, tailored outreach, has generated exceptionally high interest in the caucuses in the black community.
African-Americans in Waterloo so far seem to mirror Democrats in the rest of the state --- they're mulling the three leading presidential candidates, but leaning toward Barack Obama.
While people are quick to praise Hillary Clinton, the buzz in churches, barber shops and beauty salons seem to favor Obama less than three weeks before the caucuses.
A new poll released by Lee Enterprises, the Courier's parent company, echoed that assessment: Obama leads the pack with 33 percent, followed by Clinton and John Edwards, each at 24 percent.
"The people I talk to here, and especially with African-Americans, it's Obama, Obama, Obama," acknowledged Joy Lowe, a longtime friend and supporter of John and Elizabeth Edwards. "I've never seen anything like this, not even with (former presidential contender) Jesse Jackson."
Take a drive down East Fourth Street and through sizable African-American neighborhoods, and it's hard not to notice a similar trend in the yard signs lining the streets --- Obama, Obama, Obama. Not be ignored, though, are the splashes of Edwards and Clinton signs. Add it all up, and it could be a record year for voter turnout, said Michael Blackwell, Black Hawk County Democrats vice chairman.
"I attribute that to the number of candidates running, and also the fact there have been a lot of candidates --- some more than others --- that have sought to reach out directly to the African-American community," Blackwell said.
Campaigns have implemented unprecedented outreach efforts towards blacks in a city where the number of African-Americans roughly equals the national average --- 12 percent. It is a sizeable population, especially in a state with an approximately 2 percent black population.
Rest of article is HERE.
I am glad that the Black population of Iowa is feeling some love from the campaigns. I cannot encourage the Black community enough to get out and caucus. I would hope that it would be for Barack Obama, but just getting out and participating in the caucus has to be a good thing. It's good for democracy everywhere when more people, from diverse groups, are participating in the process. I'm sort of Old School - I believe that too many people were beaten, thrown in jail to give Black folks the right to vote for us to throw away any opportunity to be active in the process.