A sweet and surprising moment unfolded at one of Carly Fiorina’s campaign events in Iowa last week. When a veteran named John Nieland stood up and took the microphone, Fiorina expected him to ask a question. The presidential candidate was surprised by what followed:
“I would like to offer a challenge,” he said, his gaze sweeping across the audience. “I have a $100 bill here, and I’m going to put it in my hat. I’ll be at that door after she finishes, and I’m sure she will take 100s, 50s, 20s, 10s, 5s, 1s or even pocket change.
“We need to make sure she has what she needs to go all the way,” he added. “Let’s help her out for a very expensive campaign.”
By the end of the event, Nieland had gathered $800 for a grateful Fiorina.
“I was totally unprepared for his incredible generosity,” Fiorina said later. “It brings tears to my eyes thinking about it."
This sweet exchange is just one glimpse of how passionate Iowa caucusgoers are about the political process and how much they believe in their candidates. Nieland had so much faith in Fiorina he was willing to dig into his pockets to give her a boost.
The latest Des Moines Register poll puts Donald Trump in first place with 28 percent, Ted Cruz at second with 23, and Marco Rubio at third with 15 percent. Like much of the rest of the pack, Fiorina only garnered 2 percent, yet she is confident that Nieland's spontaneous fundraiser proves that polls only tell part of the story.
“I don’t care what the polls say; when people in 20 minutes raise 750 bucks, they care,” she said.
Matt and I are in the heart of Iowa to bring you all the coverage we can of Monday night’s voting. Stay tuned – and let the 2016 race begin!