Candidates Trek to Iowa as Early Voting Continues

Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan waves to the crowd with some of his children in tow, at the Clinton County courthouse in Clinton, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2012. (AP Photo/The Quad City Times, Kevin E. Schmidt)

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By Ellen Kurt

MUSCATINE, Iowa (AP) — Iowa's toss-up status in the presidential race makes it a frequent stop for candidates, but since early voting began last week, the state has been even more popular.

Ballots are in the hands of more than 247,000 Iowans who requested them by mail. About 43,800 have been returned, including more than 27,500 from Democrats and 8,800 from Republicans.

Seeking another chance to persuade voters who are casting ballots, Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan planned three events Tuesday in eastern Iowa. Vice President Joe Biden heads to Council Bluffs on Thursday.

Muscatine insurance agency owner Michael Gaeta thinks a small number of voters want to hear directly from candidates before voting. That's why the 58-year-old Gaeta listened to Ryan in Muscatine.

Ryan also was holding events in Clinton and Burlington.

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