GOP candidate Tim Scott, former VP Pence making stops in Iowa today

DES MOINES — The pace of the current GOP presidential campaign hasn’t reached the level of the last one eight years ago, but South Carolina Senator Tim Scott entered the race yesterday and will be in Sioux City today, plus former Vice President Mike Pence is making stops in Des Moines and Ottumwa.

Gloria Mazza, chair of Polk County Republicans, said it’s sort of like watching the candidates and potential candidates play chess right now. “You know: When do they make this move or that move?” Mazza said.

Pence has said he hasn’t decided yet whether he’ll run for president, but last night at a Polk County GOP fundraiser,  Pence urged the crowd to ask “hard questions” of the people who are official candidates.

“Men and women of Iowa, do your part. Do freedom’s work. We’ll keep you posted on our plans, I promise,” Pence said and a few in the crowd laughed.

Bud Hockenberg, a veteran of innumerable Iowa campaigns, isn’t giving odds on how well Pence might do in the Iowa Caucuses. “I can’t speak for other people,” he said last night. “It’s kind of an open process and it’s quite early.”

Dylan Engelbrecht, president of Drake University Republicans, said it was good to hear from Pence, but he expects to hear many other candidates on Iowa college campuses in the coming months. “We’re just welcoming everyone, no matter who they are, just to hear their ideas,” Engelbrecht said, “and that’s what the Caucuses are ultimately about.”