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This Iowa man is asking every presidential candidate to sign a baseball

Clad in a red, white, blue suit, Marc Korver has become a fixture at campaign events

Marc Korver of Washington, Iowa, listens to U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren during a Nov. 16 event at Taft Middle School in Cedar Rapids. Korver, 36, has been to about 40 campaign events this caucus season and has seen all of the Democratic candidates except California Sen. Kamala Harris. He pieced together his memorable red, white and blue suit from internet purchases.  (David Harmantas/Freelance)
Marc Korver of Washington, Iowa, listens to U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren during a Nov. 16 event at Taft Middle School in Cedar Rapids. Korver, 36, has been to about 40 campaign events this caucus season and has seen all of the Democratic candidates except California Sen. Kamala Harris. He pieced together his memorable red, white and blue suit from internet purchases. (David Harmantas/Freelance)
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WASHINGTON, Iowa — Like many Iowans following the 2020 presidential hopefuls around Eastern Iowa, Marc Korver is concerned about the future.

“The older I get, the more I care about the people who make decisions that ultimately affect my life,” Korver, 35, of Washington, Iowa, said after seeing former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick in Cedar Rapids the other day. “So I wanted to take a more active approach.”

So far, Korver estimates he’s been to about 40 campaign events this election cycle and seen 26 candidates.

Unlike most folks who more or less blend into the crowd, it’s hard to miss Korver.

In fact, in his red, white and blue suit — often paired with a candidate’s campaign T-shirt — it’s nearly impossible to miss Korver, who has become something of a fixture at campaign events around Eastern Iowa.

He pieced the suit together from internet purchases.

“It attracts a little attention,” he said — an understatement — “but, ultimately, it’s for fun. It puts a smile on people’s faces.”

“Everyone remembers the suit,” Korver said. “When (Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth) Warren saw me a second time, she said, ‘Good to see you again.’ ”

There’s more to Korver’s participation in campaign events than being the guy in the suit. He asks each candidate to sign a baseball.

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“One ball, one candidate,” he said. So far, he has autographed baseballs from all of the active candidates but President Donald Trump and California Sen. Kamala Harris.

“I’ve seen her, but she hasn’t signed yet,” he said.

Korver, a security guard at Riverside Casino and Resort, is bipartisan in pursuing the candidates’ autographs. He caught former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld, a Republican, at the Iowa State Fair.

Korver started his pursuit of the candidates in 2016, seeing Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum.

This year, he also has pictures with all of the candidates except former Vice President Joe Biden.

Occasionally, Korver has had pushback from candidates or their staffs because “they are worried I might go into the marketplace to make a profit.”

“That’s not my intention at all. It’s just for fun,” he said. “I’ll pass (the baseballs) on if I have kids.”

Korver will have more than baseballs to pass on because he also picks up campaign tchotchkes like “take a shot on 2020” shot glasses and “erase Trump” pencils and John Delaney playing cards.

“I’d like to get the joker signed,” he said.

Korver has voted in previous elections but has never caucused. He plans to change that in 2020 but doesn’t know who he will support.

He sometimes questions candidates about issues important to him, such as term limits “to get rid of the career politicians.

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In Cedar Rapids, he asked Patrick if he would support keeping Iowa’s caucuses as first-in-the-nation. Patrick offered qualified support before telling Korver, “I’m sort of dodging your question.”

Korver doesn’t see himself as a political junkie — just interested in how things work.

“I wish more people took advantage of this because if you hear a candidate, you might learn something,” Korver said. “I’ve learned which ones have their ducks in a row and which don’t.

“This whole process is a gift to the state of Iowa,” Korver said. “I was 10 feet away from (Patrick), but if he’s the nominee, I won’t have the access anymore.”

But he’ll still have his pictures and autographed baseballs.

Comments: (319) 398-8375; james.lynch@thegazette.com

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