The Democratic gubernatorial nominee will face Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds Nov. 6.
You know Election Day is imminent when the strain in a candidate's voice is noticeable within their first few words.
But that didn't keep Fred Hubbell from taking his hoarse voice up a couple decibels as he stood before a standing-room-only crowd of about 125 enthusiastic Democrats at their campaign office in Burlington.
Hubbell's visit here was his last stop of a six-event day along the Mississippi River, beginning Wednesday morning in Clinton.
Iowa's Democratic nominee for governor and his running mate, state Sen. Rita Hart, are barnstorming the state in a green Winnebago RV with 12 days left to campaign before Election Day Nov. 6.
"You know, there's a lot of things that we could do better in our state," said Hubbell, a 67-year-old retired businessman from Des Moines. "And it starts with having the right priorities and putting people first. We're not doing that."
As with past campaign stops, Hubbell talked about reversing the privatization of Medicaid "beginning on day one," raising the state's minimum wage, making preschool available statewide and bringing back collective bargaining rights for all public employees.
His promise to restore funding for Planned Parenthood elicited some of the loudest applause from the audience, in an area affected by clinic closures in Burlington and Keokuk at the hands of the Republican-led Legislature.
"Fifteen-thousand people had to all the sudden go find a new doctor some place, and it could be a long drive to get the quality care that they deserve," Hubbell said.
Voters' concerns about the future of IPERS, the state's pension system for public employees, has come to the forefront for both parties in the last month of the election.
Though Republicans, including Hubbell's opponent, Gov. Kim Reynolds, are insistent they don't want to interfere with the financially solvent system, Democrats have amplified past discussions about potentially weening future state workers off of IPERS.
"Anybody here on IPERS?" Hubbell asked, as a handful of arms raised in the crowd. "You want to keep IPERS? You better vote for it because it's on the chopping block."
For Mark Masterson, a correctional officer at the Mount Pleasant Correctional Facility, discussions around the future of his retirement are real, especially given the bargaining rights he lost in 2017.
Tuesday morning, Masterson wrote on the "Don't touch my IPERS!" Facebook page, decrying the rollback of collective bargaining and of changes to IPERS, noting he was a registered Republican as recently as last year.
"People are scared about what they've (Republicans) said, what they've done. And that's why I think it's blown up," said Masterson, noting the thousands of new members added to the Facebook page in recent weeks.
"It's on the Republican agenda," Hubbell told The Hawk Eye in between talking with voters after his speech. "The governor's very clear, she's not said anything about protecting IPERS for the future. All she talks about is protecting people that are already in it."
Barbara Shivapour of Burlington has volunteered this year on the phone banks, describing Hubbell as a candidate "who has really good ideas that would benefit the people of our state."
For Shivapour, Iowans' limited access to mental health care was one of her top concerns.
"I think that's a major problem that we have in our state," she said. "We don't have resources for the people that need them the most."