Mixing football and politics: groups, politicians crash Kinnick Stadium

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IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) -- Many politicians either seeking election or re-election spent the afternoon tailgating with fans, but also looking to secure votes before the upcoming midterm election.

In between the tailgating tents and games of cornhole, visitors to Kinnick Stadium may have noticed things getting political. Groups outside the stadium like NextGen America even used free wings as a way to get people to sign up to register to vote.

"Our goal is to get right where the students are, be right in the action, get students engaged talking about issues and pledging and registering to vote for the election in November," said Mara Kealey, a Field Organizer in Ames for NextGen America.

"We're meeting them where they're at and what better place than here, there's so many people here," said Trent Seubert, Organizing Director for NextGen America. "We can't afford to miss this opportunity."

Organizers with the group said the wings were a hit- they ran out two hours before kickoff, registered more than 20 students, and received pledges from nearly 200 students they will vote in two months.

Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig and Governor Kim Reynolds were among the many in attendance seeking either their first terms or re-election.

"[It's] a chance to connect with a lot of Iowans," said Naig. That's what my job entails but also in the campaign as well, so it's a great opportunity to see a lot of folks."

"A lot of people come out, just a chance to meet people and you pick the people that seem to be interested in talking about it," said Dr. Christopher Peters, a Republican candidate for the 2nd District seat in Congress.

As people swarmed the stadium to see the 66th CyHawk rivalry, it was clear walking around- many came with plans that went beyond the game.

"The important part of my job is to hear from folks, hear what's on their minds," Naig said.

"We want all young people to vote, that's the most important thing," Seubert said. "We, as a generation, don't do it enough. And that is what we care about is we want us to vote."