DES MOINES —
For many, Election Day couldn't come soon enough after non-stop campaign ads that began months before the state's January 2012 presidential caucus, and never stopped.
"People talk all the time about how they basically mute their TV or shut it off," said Republican Rep. Tom Latham, who is locked in a heated campaign for Iowa's 3rd Congressional District with Democratic incumbent Leonard Boswell.
Campaign volunteers have experienced voter fatigue, too.
"People are going to be glad when we forget their names and forget where their houses are," said Caroline Koppes, an Obama campaign volunteer in Dubuque. "They're tired of it."
It's a high-stakes election for many candidates — presidential, congressional and legislative alike. Iowa voters also were tasked with deciding whether to retain an Iowa Supreme Court justice who supported gay marriage.
Tuesday is especially noteworthy for nine-term incumbent Latham and eight-term incumbent Boswell, as losing will mean the end of a long political career. Latham, 64, chose to move into the 3rd District after Iowa lost a congressional seat due to once-a-decade redistricting that reflected population changes noted by the U.S. Census. The district stretches from Des Moines west to the Missouri River.
Their race has been expensive — Latham's $3.1 million fundraising haul is double Boswell's $1.5 million — and poll numbers indicate it is close.
"It's been a very spirited contest but we're competitive and we've been able to follow the plan that we laid out," said Boswell, 78.
The 4th Congressional District race, which pits a well-known incumbent against Iowa's former first lady, has also attracted plenty of attention.
Republican Rep. Steve King, known for his outspoken conservative views, has cruised in every race since he was first elected in 2002. But the 63-year-old acknowledged this year's challenge by Democrat Christie Vilsack has been difficult. Vilsack, 62, is married to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, who was Iowa's governor for eight years.