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Campaign Diaries: Day One: This is Iowa, Meet Marco Rubio


LaGuardia Airport, New York City, Jan. 27,  9:00 a.m.  — After a nearly tropical winter on the eastern seaboard this year, mother nature suddenly dumped about 105 billion pounds of snow (not an exaggeration) on New York City while I was up in New Hampshire covering a Republican town hall over the weekend.

This act of God did afford me 30 cozy hours bunkered down in Boston, but also cost me several stressful hours getting trying to get a cab, a bus, reindeer or really any ride home back to the city.

I finally made it back early Monday morning. I was just pleased to be home and ready to sort through the several hours of video I’d shot in New Hampshire.

Late Monday evening, however, I received an email I’d been waiting for from a senior aide on a Republican presidential candidate's campaign, agreeing to let allow me spend nearly a full day with the candidate as he zinged across the state, seeking to gain traction against the clear front runners at this moment, Donald Trump and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.

I flipped open my laptop, expecting to swiftly purchase flights to and from Des Moines for a few hundred dollars and a cheap hotel for what it costs to have decent dinner in New York City.

Not so fast. Snowstorm “Jonas” had wiped out several days of air travel for tens of thousands of travelers and conspired with an army of thousands of consultants, reporters, aides, and candidates descending on Iowa to ensure travel sites were entire devoid of any tickets under $2,000.

That’s why, as I type away, 20,000 feet up in the air, I am actually headed first to a smaller town in Iowa called Waterloo. There, I’ll  hopefully rendezvous with the campaign on Thursday.

So far, the progress is not great. My flight from LaGuardia left 1.5 hours late. I am not sure why as I was fast asleep in my seat. It seems I’ll certainly miss my connecting flight to Waterloo. Not sure how many they run each day from O’Hare to Waterloo but I can’t imagine it's many.

Des Moines, Iowa, Jan. 29, 12.30 a.m. — Arrived in Waterloo, Iowa, late. drove 1.5 hours to Ames where I picked up necessary supplies at the area Best Buy. Suffered from a lack of cell phone coverage for much of the journey.

My first stop was in west Des Moines, where I stopped at a Marco Rubio event at a pub. Signs of Wells Fargo bank, which apparently keep its world headquarters nearby, were everywhere. I’d describe the area as corperate suburbia. A Best Buy, Walmart, Chili's, Red Lobster and so on.

At the event I attempted to ask Sen. Rubio a question, but was rebuffed. I captured some footage of the senator kissing babies, shaking hands, as politicians do.

I finally sped back downtown and up the river that intersects the city to my hotel room where I have been editing video for the last several hours.

See you tomorrow.

P.S. Follow along in real-time by keeping tabs on my Twitter account, @JosiahRyan.

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