Moline Democrats sell the sizzle in presidential race

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It's a hot topic at the Indian Bluff grill on a comfortable Sunday afternoon.

"Money back guarantee," said volunteer chef David Hendrickx.

Just like this annual steak fry for local Democrats, they're beefing up for November.

"We've got a nice big group of friends," Hendrickx said, between plating corn-on-the-cob. "Happy Democrats here."

They're working hard to keep the sizzle in President Barack Obama's bid for a second term.

"I think it gets everybody fired up and excited about the race," said John McGehee, running for Rock Island County State's Attorney.

It's a presidential race that already hit close to home over the last year. The Obama campaign doesn't forget that neighboring Iowa sent them on their way to the White House.

"If you do well, the economy does well," President Obama told hundreds of students at the University of Iowa on April 25. "This is about the economy."

While the Obama campaign expects to do well here in home turf Illinois, new polls suggest that the president is leading in key battleground states like Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida.

"I think it shows that people are looking at the two candidates," said Doug House, chairman of the Rock Island County Democrats. "They're starting to show some interest, and that the voters are starting to make up their minds."

This group of party leaders is ramping up for a big push in the final three months. They know it's impossible to recapture the historic whirlwind from four years ago.

"The Republican party has energized its base this time," said Moline Township Supervisor Don Johnston, who hosted the event. "Democrats are energized."

From the roars of an April rally in Iowa City, to the smiles at a Sunday get-together, it's all about staying on message.

"They have to keep the focus on what's going on and not try to get sidetracked by some of the other things that are being said," said Democratic supporter Kerry Ewert.

Three months to go and lots of door-knocking and phone calling to come.

"I think you're going to see people really get engaged here, especially after Labor Day," McGehee concluded.

It's a hot topic that's still sizzling at this cookout.

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