LAKE RED ROCK, Iowa -- Democratic presidential and congressional candidates made their cases to rural Democrats at the Seven County Rally and Fundraiser Sunday afternoon.
Marion County Democrats hosted the event, which brought a couple hundred of voters from Appanoose, Clarke, Decatur, Lucas, Marion, Monroe and Wayne counties.
One voter, Anne Murr of Osceola, said she is looking for a leader who wants the right thing for everyone, not just select groups. She hopes to see someone who restores America's reputation abroad.
"We have lost the moral leadership around the world as United States of America. We are no longer looked at with respect, and that's not our nation," Murr said. "That's another reason why we need to get the soul of our nation back."
For some voters, that means restoring America's foreign relationships to ease trade tensions. Murr said that's taking a toll on Iowans.
"Markets don't like the unknown and the markets are too unstable," Murr said.
Presidential candidate and comedian Ben Gleib said if he gets elected, all of his trade policies would be carefully researched and planned.
"We cannot have a guess and check trade policy where we’re just antagonizing based on whims," Gleib said.
In his speech, he called rural communities the "backbone of America" and said we need policies that will put those communities on a path for success.
"We need to actually deal specifically with China in a careful and cautious way," he said. "You can’t have your focus be this very Trumpian, tit-for-tat of we must have a perfectly evened out trade balance. That’s not a reality in the modern world. We live in a globalized economy."
Eddie Mauro, a Des Moines Democrat who is running to unseat Republican U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst, was also campaigning at the event. He said Ernst has not done enough to call out President Trump on the trade war that's hurting Iowans.
"I'd be standing at the top of my chair telling the president that this trade war is bad for Iowa, it's bad for this country. It's only going to make matters worse for those communities," Mauro said.
Mauro also said he works a lot with rural communities and has lived in small towns, so he has seen firsthand how they are affected.
"I feel the pain they’re going through and it’s not just the farmers, it’s the small business owners of those main streets in town squares. They didn’t sign up for this trade war. They're not getting any subsidies from the federal government, and they’re struggling out there," he said.
Presidential candidate Marianne Williamson was supposed to speak at the fundraiser, but she appeared to be running late and could not make it in time.