Iowan hauls home 300 pounds of campaign memorabilia
McDowell, center, takes home the huge, 300-pound steel sign in the shape of Iowa with Mitt Romney's campaign logo engraved in it.
January 11th, 2013
08:18 PM ET
10 years ago

Iowan hauls home 300 pounds of campaign memorabilia

(CNN) - For the political junkie, these 300 pounds of steel are anything but junk.

So when Don McDowell, a 27-year-old Iowa Republican who collects campaign memorabilia, heard the huge metal plate in the shape of Iowa with Mitt Romney's campaign logo engraved in it was up for grabs, he rented a truck, rounded up his buddies and claimed the 8-foot-wide, 5-foot-high sign.

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The sign had hung behind Romney at a 2011 campaign rally in Dubuque and eventually came to rest in the GOP presidential contender's Des Moines campaign office.

But with the Iowa Caucuses – held January 3, 2012 – and the whole election in the rearview mirror, the sign was free for whoever could haul it away. It had been left, abandoned, in the old campaign office and had to go before a new tenant moved in.

"I saw it on Craigslist and originally there was the story earlier this week" in local media, McDowell told CNN. The Des Moines Register first reported the story.

He had a truck, the hands – "including my Obama-supporting Democrat brother" – and the interest in adding it to his collection. The rental and a few bucks for his friends came to about $100.

The sign, which is "a bit rough on the sides," is now the largest and heaviest item in his collection of political memorabilia from campaigns past.

"I've been going to political events since about the time I could walk so I've got signs, buttons and things from the caucuses and the straw poll," he said. Among the highlights of his collection prior to the Romney sign was a "mini-statue of Jimmy Carter holding a peanut."

McDowell said he attended a number of campaign events this year, including Romney's rally in the state on the eve of the caucuses, but he was volunteering with the state party and could not attend a caucus.

"I would have given him some strong consideration," McDowell said.

Come 2016, he has his eye on a number of potential candidates, including Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Gov. Susana Martinez of New Mexico. "I'm waiting to see if there's a dark horse out there," he said.

Like other civically-minded Iowans, he takes politics seriously – serious enough to haul the 40-square-foot sign home.

For now, it is sitting in his garage while he figures out where it will go next. Maybe it will have a place in a museum someday, he wondered, or his personal collection, once he gets established and has somewhere to show it.

"I'm sure had Romney won, the campaign would have taken it with them and used it in four years for his reelection campaign," McDowell said. "Nobody wanted to lug this thing around."

Filed under: Iowa • Mitt Romney
soundoff (17 Responses)
  1. works4me

    Worth about $30 in Florida for scrap... as it should!

    January 11, 2013 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  2. Martha in CF

    Sorry, it is junk...........

    January 11, 2013 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  3. Will

    Wow... the most worthless piece of metal in the world!

    January 11, 2013 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  4. MaryM

    lol, send it to Romney and Ryan. They would love the memories

    January 11, 2013 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  5. Thomas

    That would look great on Mitts car elevator .

    January 12, 2013 01:04 am at 1:04 am |
  6. John

    It just 500 pound of junk from a man that lost all three time he ran for President , It wasn't worth the 100 dollar It cost them to get It.

    January 12, 2013 06:29 am at 6:29 am |
  7. snowdogg

    Would make a great "man cave" snack table... LOL

    January 12, 2013 07:22 am at 7:22 am |
  8. Tony in Maine

    Stick in the back of an old falling down shed, pile empty oil cans and broken bicycles around it and call The Pickers.

    January 12, 2013 08:01 am at 8:01 am |
  9. News Commentator

    Look for the Romney sign on eBay soon.

    January 12, 2013 08:09 am at 8:09 am |
  10. Grumpster

    Melt it down for scrap.

    January 12, 2013 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  11. enuff

    It makes you wonder how much was.spent making a sign of that magnitude just to be.trashed in the end.

    January 12, 2013 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  12. dave

    Romney campaign is irresponsible and leaves large obtrusive object in rental office that others have to deal with. Sounds about right.

    January 12, 2013 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  13. Sane in Maine

    I hear that it's solid platnium. Romney wanted something worth more than gold for his name.

    January 12, 2013 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  14. Surfer George

    300 pounds of steel must be worth SOMETHING

    Eventually, loser memorabilia may get value, but I don't see too many people posting the sign any time soon.

    January 12, 2013 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  15. PJ

    At least it will never be in a Presidential Library. The guy looks happy, so whatever floats your boat. Love the
    table top idea.

    January 12, 2013 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  16. Mark in Seattle

    Send it to Ann, the queen that wasn't meant to be.

    January 12, 2013 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  17. Squigman

    Mental illness must gallop (not run), in the family.

    January 12, 2013 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |