(Photo by Randy M. Cauthron) [Order this photo]
"I want to wake up Wednesday morning with a smile on my face I can't wipe off."
- Congressman Steve King
"You've got my vote," Gary Hoefling told Congressman Steve King as he shook his hand.
"For the first time," Hoefling added as he turned and walked from the room.
Thanking Hoefling for the support, King broke into a wide smile. It's a gesture he hopes will be a regular part of his day on Wednesday.
King, who is facing a challenge from Christie Vilsack for the newly formed U.S. House District 4 in Iowa, told those gathered at Spencer's Pizza Ranch, "I want to wake up Wednesday morning with a smile on my face I can't wipe off."
He expressed the need for a victory over Vilsack and a win for the Romney/Ryan presidential ticket Tuesday night to make that happen.
"We can turn American history here in Iowa," King said, claiming the role of the Hawkeye state as one of the recognized swing states is very important.
Former King staffer, Megan Hess, who is seeking to become the first representative for the newly formed Iowa House District 2, introduced the congressman to the crowd. King shared his pride in Hess as she attempts to begin her political career.
King admitted to maintaining a great deal of interest in the election, outside of his own race. "Like all of you, I'm watching this thing all the way to the White House. The destiny of the United States will turn on Tuesday night."
He continued, "If Barack Obama is elected President, we will continue in the same direction."
Calling the election an "American destiny" question, King outlined the debt load his two-year-old granddaughter Reagan Ann King has already been "burdened" with.
"When she was born, her share of the national debt was $44,000. When she turned one, it was $48,000. She recently turned two years and her share of the national debt is now $52,000. ... We're mortgaging how we live today on the labor of children yet to be born," King said.
"We've got to tighten our belt," King said, "and it's going to hurt. The success of this country is tied to our economy."
King pointed to Mitt Romney as the candidate to turn things around.
"He's had success at everything he's done," King said, citing his efforts in the private sector, with the Olympics, and as Governor of Massachusetts.
"What Romney pulled off in Massachusetts is phenomenal," he added.
King also touted the strength vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan brings to the ticket. "They are the perfect team to do what needs to be done."
"They need to call on the people to get a balanced budget amendment; that is the most important thing," King said.
Concerned about the country slipping into a more socialist society, King stressed a need for the "character of America" to shine through.
"I want America to reach its potential. It starts with a Romney presidency and Ryan as vice president."
Turning his attention back to his own race, King outlined his travel throughout the district and each community.
"Vilsack's first vote would be to reinstall Nancy Pelosi back as Speaker of the House. I didn't talk to one person who said they would like Nancy Pelosi to return as Speaker," King said, drawing a chuckle from the audience.
"I think this Vilsack brand will have the public opinion statement Tuesday night," King said, noting things "look good" right now.
"We are the heart of the Heartland," King said, pointing to Iowa values. "We're the solid, stable core of America."
Hoefling asked King about the status of the bio-diesel tax credit.
"All of these big decisions are going to be easier to predict once the elections shake out," King responded. "The confusion of the split government makes it difficult to predict. Everything is being politicized right now."
King predicted the issue might wind up as part of a package vote that could also include wind energy support as well as multiple other items.
Without making any promises, King said he was going to continue to move the issue forward, and is encouraged by Romney's discussion on the matter.
Another member of the audience commented on the deaths of American "heroes" in conjunction with the terrorist attack at Benghazi. Claiming the deaths to be a perfect example of "Chicago-style politics," the unidentified speaker posed questions to King about what's being done to address what he believes is a "cover up."
"Benghazi is a far worse situation than Watergate," King said. "I have more questions than I have answers about that one. Who told the Seals to 'stand down'? We will hold hearings. We will get answers. This is disgraceful. But if Obama is re-elected, it's going to take longer to get facts about this than it has to get facts on the Fast and Furious."