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00000173-38e2-d855-adf7-bcef373c0000Candidates:Republicans:Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, Chris Christie, Ted Cruz, Carly Fiorina, Jim Gilmore, Lindsey Graham, Mike Huckabee, Bobby Jindal, John Kasich, George Pataki, Rand Paul, Rick Perry, Marco Rubio, Rick Santorum, Scott Walker, Donald TrumpDemocrats:Lincoln Chafee, Hillary Clinton, Lawrence Lessig, Martin O'Malley, Bernie Sanders, Jim WebbPerspectives:Get views and analysis from Iowans and others as they share their stories and perspectives on the candidates, the issues, and the election cycle in general. Check out our Perspectives coverage here.

Donald Trump Wows Oskaloosa Crowd


So  many people turned out to hear real estate mogul and Republican candidate for president Donald Trump in Oskaloosa yesterday, they had to put several hundred in an overflow room.  

 Trump drew a larger crowd than his Republican opponents have been attracting.

More than 60-percent of likely voters nationwide tell pollsters they would never vote for Trump.   The crowd in Oskaloosa didn’t’ get that memo. 

Trump’s Iowa campaign manager Chuck Laudner is a long-time backer of anti-establishment candidates. 

“There’s tea party people out here,” Laudner says.  “There’s social conservatives, there’s small business owners out here.”

Melissa Davidson with the Trump campaign was working to accommodate the crowd in a high school auditorium.

“We have a capacity of 696 people,” Davidson says.  “And we have RSVP’s from 1300 people.”

Some didn’t even make it inside.  But all were treated to lunch courtesy of the Trump campaign.    

Trump is doing well in the polls .   And for those who did get in, he was well-received with an over-the-top, anti-Washington message.      

Trump called the nation’s leaders "dummies".    And he spoke very approvingly of his own wealth.  

He said other candidates like Jeb Bush or Scott Walker or Hillary Clinton, if they’re elected, will be controlled by the lobbyists and others who gave them money to run. 

“Here’s the beauty of me,” Trump says.   “I couldn't care less.   I hire the lobbyists.  I know these guys.”

Trump laughs at critics who predicted he wouldn’t reveal his financial worth. 

“They thought I wouldn't file because he's probably not as rich as people think,” Trump says.  “Now they find out I’m much richer.”    

Dean Ballalatak, a retired truck driver from Lavilla, was in the crowd.     He wasn’t quite ready to call Trump a bragger.

“Bragger?  I don't know,” Ballalatak says with a laugh.   “He's a very good businessman.   He has a right to brag.    He’s done very well in his life.”     

Ballalatak is not offended by Trump’s statements on immigration.   Trump called illegal immigrants drug dealers and rapists .  Ballalatak says there’s some truth to that, that Mexico is sending its problems here.   

Several in the crowd were especially keen on the fact that Trump is not a politician.    Shannon Dykstra, a schoolteacher from Pella, voted for Mike Huckabee eight years ago, and Rick Santorum in 2012.

“Both have been open about their faith and what it means to them,” Dykstra says.  “So I’m still looking at them but they’re still politicians.”     

In spite of Trump’s recent statements dismissing war hero Senator John McCain, veterans were on hand to support Trump.  The Des Moines Register called for him to withdraw from the race over that.   The Trump campaign responded by declining to give the Register credentials to cover him in Oskaloosa.  

 “We had so many people standing outside,” Trump says.   “In fact the Des Moines Register is standing outside too.   It’s a liberal rag.”

But that joke was on Trump    Register reporters were there reporting,  even without credentials.  Trump admits he’s lost some business over his remarks, and compared to that, whatever millions he spends to get elected will be cheap.

“Someone asked how much is the campaign costing you,”   Trump says.   “That’s peanuts compared to what I’m giving up.”    

Trump adds he’ll spend whatever it takes to win.  

Outside, Angela Leonard of Oskaloosa has a bit of advice for the candidate.

“Some things I wish he'd maybe tone it down a bit, be a little subtle,” Leonard says.   “But that's the only tip I would tell him."

Leonard adds, “He’s out there saying what we can’t say.”