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Senate Candidate Sam Clovis

Campaigning in town hall meetings, Sam Clovis cites studies, data and historical examples like a college professor. That’s because he is a college professor.

Clovis, running for the GOP nomination for U.S. senator, is chairman of the Economics and Business Administration Department at Morningside College in Sioux City.

He is campaigning in a crowded field of five contenders. What sets him apart, Clovis says, is a detailed knowledge of the issues, a characteristic that is drawing in more support as the primary nears.

“We are very optimistic. We feel that we are closing in,” said Clovis, 64, of Hinton, Iowa, who has never held elected office.

Also running are former U.S. attorney Matt Whitaker of Ankeny; state Sen. Joni Ernst of Red Oak; retired energy executive Mark Jacobs of West Des Moines; and auto salesman Scott Schaben of Ames.

Clovis is the only candidate from the conservative northwestern portion of the state, where he hosted a popular radio talk show.

R. Doc Zortman of Sioux City became a Clovis fan when the two connected in 2009 at tea party activities. Zortman said the events turned Clovis into the region’s primary conservative voice.

“Americans from both sides of the political aisle talk about taking our country back from lobbyists and special interest groups,” Zortman said. “To do so, will take a much more seasoned and dedicated constitutionalist than we have ever had before. The opportunity to elect such a patriot as Sam Clovis does not come along but once in a lifetime.”

But gaining widespread support has been challenging. In the most recent fundraising period, Clovis had $54,845 in campaign cash going into the final weeks. Ernst, by comparison, had $427,000. He travels the state in a truck, hitting every possible county party meeting, racking up 50,000 miles since August.

Clovis touts his foreign policy, national security and homeland security experience from military and other government agency stints before moving into academia in 2003. That gives him the full resume that will draw Republican primary voters, said Clovis, a native of Medora, Kan.

He favors replacing the federal income tax with the Fair Tax, a national sales tax. He wants to reduce the scope of government and strip away the 2010 federal health care reform package.

After polling in single digits through April, Clovis is optimistic the field will shift as voters pick a candidate.

“We are in a really good space,” Clovis said. “We are on the rail, we are closing in on people. There is a big, strong horse coming, and I am that guy.”

The presumptive Democratic nominee is U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley, of Waterloo.

–from the Quad-City Times

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