DES MOINES, IOWA – Republican establishment candidate Sen. Marco Rubio is skipping the first leg of his scheduled Iowa bus tour after the forecast called for snow in the Hawkeye State.
Rubio planned to appear at a town hall event in Burlington, Iowa Monday as the opening leg in a three-day bus tour of Iowa, but the Midwestern conditions didn’t suit his Floridian sensibilities. Ten to twelve inches of snow are expected as part of Winter Storm Goliath.
Rubio’s heavily promoted bus tour was supposed to give the senator a chance to connect with everyday voters ahead of the all-important Iowa caucus on February 1. Now Rubio’s three-day charm offensive will be cut down to two days, with the possibility that his Tuesday and Wednesday events could also be canceled.
Though Goliath is expected to bring more than six, and potentially ten to twelve inches of snow, to Iowa Monday with 20 to 40 mph winds, local residents expressed confusion as to why the media and political outsiders are making such a big deal out of it.
Snow clearing vehicles were already making their rounds early Monday morning and buses are expected to depart from the airport on their normally designated routes. Iowa on average gets more than 32 inches of snow per winter, and temperatures routinely drop well below zero. Iowans, versed in the rural tradition of taking things in stride, will be watching all the candidates’ moves carefully in the coming weeks to get a sense of their personalities and ability to confront adverse situations, weather-related or otherwise.
Rubio’s snow-related cancellation is yet another bout of bad luck for the Florida senator’s Iowa campaign. Conservative rival Ted Cruz is launching his own bus tour, dubbed “Cruzin’ to Caucus,” next week that will hit 36 different Iowa counties.
Rubio, on the other hand, will only get face time with voters now in six relatively small population centers: Clinton, Waterloo, and Sioux City on Tuesday and Pella, North Newton, and Boone on Wednesday.
Cruz shot to the lead in Iowa in a December Monmouth poll, earning 24 percent support against Donald Trump’s 19 percent, Rubio’s 17 percent, and Ben Carson’s 13 percent. With a fierce ground game across Iowa’s 99 counties, Cruz is taking on front-runner status for his final sprint to the first-in-the-nation Republican caucus. Snowfall is unlikely to slow him down. Not surprisingly, most of the negative TV ads running in Iowa are aimed at Cruz.
This Breitbart reporter will be live in Iowa throughout the “Goliath” frenzy and Rubio’s bus tour.
Based on its sluggish start, Rubio’s “Out with the Old, In With The New Tour” will exceed expectations Tuesday, even if the bus manages to avoid ending up on the side of Highway 8 with a flat.