Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, once a 2016 candidate himself, was in Ames on Saturday calling on voters to support Democratic candidates up and down the ballot while denouncing Republican nominee Donald Trump and U.S. Rep. Steve King.
Speaking at the Story County Democratic office in Ames, O’Malley was part of a larger effort to encourage voters to cast ballots for Hillary Clinton and other Democrats in Iowa.
O’Malley's speech touched on Iowa’s pivotal role in deciding the president and an encouragement to get involved. He was also quick to criticize Trump, at one point calling his appeals “overtly racist and fascist.”
“His base became convinced he was just the sledgehammer we needed to break the kitchen table,” O’Malley said, “Well, breaking the kitchen table doesn’t put food on it, does it?”
O’Malley also used his time to speak about how he felt Clinton would be a better president when it comes to creating jobs and growing the economy.
“Hillary Clinton understands that our economy is not money," O'Malley said. "It’s people."
O’Malley touted Clinton's plans, such as raising the minimum wage, improving infrastructure and ensuring equal pay for equal work between men and women. O’Malley said the plans were "common sense wage and labor policies."
“Another big important piece of common sense wage and labor policies is making college affordable again for every family,” O’Malley said.
O’Malley stressed the importance of making sure young Americans have the skills to compete in a competitive, highly-educated world. He also praised the Clinton campaign for their college affordability plan, which he said took the best ideas of all three candidates in the Democratic primary — himself, Sen. Bernie Sanders and Clinton.
O'Malley's visit also was to encourage volunteers to continue working right up until election day for both Clinton and Kim Weaver, the Democratic candidate for Iowa's 4th District.
“I’ve been getting our volunteers to canvas and phone bank,” said Emily Tosoni, a junior in political science who is volunteering. “Really making sure everyone’s excitement levels stay up.”
Tosoni originally only volunteered as a class requirement at Iowa State but continued to because of what she feels is at stake. She specifically called out Trump for allegations of sexual assault by him and what some say is inflammatory rhetoric.
“Donald Trump does not represent what anyone in this country believes,” Tosoni said.
O’Malley, who has worked with Weaver in the past on former state Sen. Jack Hatch’s 2014 run for governor, introduced her to address volunteers.
Just over two weeks from election day, Weaver said she has driven all over Iowa’s 4th District. She claimed seeing only two yard signs for King and many for herself.
“Yard signs can’t vote,” Weaver said, “but they do show support.”
She also said many Trump supporters are not fans of King, who backed Texas Sen. Ted Cruz in the Iowa Caucus, and will vote for her.
“Trump supporters don’t like Steve King," she said. "They think he lost Trump the caucus here in Iowa. I think we’re going to see a lot of split-ticket voting here. This is the year to get rid of [King], Weaver said. "He needs to go."
Weaver also blasted King for his votes to decrease Pell grants and increase interest rates on student loans. She spoke from experience as a mother of three and how challenging it can be to pay for college.
She told attendees about her two five-time great-grandfathers who fought in the Revolutionary War and related their unlikely victory to her campaign.
“They were undermanned, underfunded, and nobody thought they could win, but they did,” Weaver said. “Help me show the world that the descendent of true tea party patriots can dethrone another King,” Weaver said.
Along with his stop in Ames, O’Malley also attended a fundraiser for U.S. Rep. Dave Loebsack and a door-knocking effort in Omaha.