Democratic 2020 hopefuls are already launching their ground-games in the nation’s first caucus state as at least ten different prospective candidates have made a visit to Iowa in recent months.
Rep. John Delaney (D-MD-06) was the focus of a recent Politico article, which noted that the Maryland congressman has already visited all of Iowa’s 99 counties. Delaney, who was the first Democrat to declare candidacy, plans to hire 30 full-time staffers and open eight offices on the ground by January.
“We’re encouraged by what we are hearing on the ground across the state,” his campaign said in a statement. “We want to build on our early efforts by ramping up the campaign with staff and offices.”
Delaney will have tough competition in some of his party’s more popular members, such as Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), all of whom have made recent appearances in the state.
Just before the midterms, Harris participated in a seven-stop tour of Iowa to campaign for her fellow Democrats, and spoke at a rally hosted by the Polk County Democrats, an influential player in the Democratic primaries.
“This is a fight that is born out of love of country. We are prepared to fight for the best of who we are,” she said to a crowd of 500.
Booker headlined an event sponsored by the Iowa Democratic Party in early October, right before Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court.
“We are not defined by the president who mocks a hero, Dr. Blasey Ford,” Booker said, referencing the woman who accused Kavanaugh of sexual assault during his nomination process.
Sanders, meanwhile, made multiple visits to Iowa during the midterms, most notably speaking at a rally for Democrat J.D. Scholten in his bid against Rep. Steve King (R-IA-04), who ultimately won reelection.
“Ordinary people have the right to determine the future of this country. That is what this election is all about,” Sanders said, calling President Donald Trump a “pathological liar” and “an opportunist of the worst kind.”
Even attorney Michael Avenatti of Stormy Daniels fame has considered making a run for the White House, and visited the Iowa State Fair in August.
“I’m here to listen to the great people of Iowa, explore the fair and see whether it makes sense to run for the presidency or not,” he said at the time. “I’m serious about considering it. I haven’t made a decision as to what I’m going to do.”
His prospects, though, may have been derailed by the recent domestic violence allegations made against him, which he adamantly denies.
Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA-15) made an early November visit to Iowa that he says “emboldened” him to consider a presidential run, though he’s now facing criticism over a tweet in which he jokingly suggested using “nukes” on a gun owner.
“Very well received there. They want new energy, new ideas, and a new confidence, and that really emboldened me to make a decision soon,” he said after his visit.
Democratic entrepreneur Andrew Yang joins Avenatti in the unlikely class of candidates, and is running on a campaign of providing every American with a $1,000 a month “freedom dividend.” More recently, he suggested establishing a “digital social credits” system similar to China’s that awards citizens for good behavior.
According to The Daily Iowan, Yang has already visited Iowa six times since August. Other potential candidates who have visited the state include Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI-02), and Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR).
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