Earlier this week, we here at National Journal broke big news. A 300-lb. steel sign etched with Mitt Romney’s name and campaign motto was being offered, for free, on Craigslist. For free! It was collecting dust in a former campaign office, must to the irritation of the landlord. But now we can report that the sign has found a home.
According to the seller, who wishes to remain anonymous, more than 100 people responded to the ad. But Don McDowell, a 27-year-old Republican political operative and veteran staffer of the Iowa State Senate was the lucky winner.
“The sign is 100 percent in my possession -- the sign is mine,” McDowell, a resident of West Des Moines, tells me over the phone with a satisfied chuckle.
McDowell says he has a large collection of campaign memorabilia, buttons, posters, and books, (most of which is stored in his parents’ house in Archer, Iowa. “God Bless them… I’m sure they love to get rid of it but for now it’s fine.”) However, the sign will remain, for now, in his garage in West Des Moines until he can find a better location for it.
“I’ve been a collector of memorabilia for years," he says, adding an assurance that the piece will be preserved for the ages. "I’m going to, for now, keep it. If I give it away I’ll give it to a museum or something."
When asked if he, a Republican, would have been interested in an analogous steel Obama banner, he said he probably would have. The pull of campaign history is just too strong. But he admits he “would have been less eager.”
The best part about hauling the thing? “I got my older brother Andrew, who is a huge Obama Democrat—He is one of the guys who helped move it.”
The Romney sign will now become “the hallmark,” and certainly the largest, piece of his political collection. “You would have never dreamed that there would be a giant metal sign of Mitt Romney with his logo on it.”
Dream big, Don. Dream big.