Dem hope­fuls pour into Iowa for last-minute push

Poll shows San­ders in lead, but War­ren gets key back­ing

Baltimore Sun Sunday - - NATION & WORLD - By Bill Bar­row

DES MOINES, Iowa — Freed mo­men­tar­ily from the Se­nate’s im­peach­ment trial, sev­eral pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates high-tailed it to Iowa on Satur­day for a last-minute blitz of cam­paign­ing be­fore the state’s cau­cuses kick off the bat­tle for the Demo­cratic nom­i­na­tion.

Greet­ing Sen. El­iz­a­beth War­ren was one of the state’s most cov­eted en­dorse­ments.

The Des Moines Regis­ter called the Mas­sachusetts Demo­crat “the best leader for these times.” Adding that War­ren “is not the rad­i­cal some per­ceive her to be,” the Regis­ter said War­ren “has proven she is tough and fear­less.”

Sens. Amy Klobuchar of Min­nesota, Bernie San­ders of Ver­mont and War­ren held town halls, ral­lies and con­certs Satur­day across Iowa to keep their sup­port­ers mo­ti­vated head­ing into the fi­nal stretch of the cau­cus cam­paign.

They joined former Vice

Pres­i­dent Joe Bi­den and Pete But­tigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, In­di­ana, who don’t have Se­nate obli­ga­tions and have al­ready spent much of the past week in Iowa.

The burst of cam­paign­ing comes as the con­test for the Demo­cratic nom­i­na­tion en­ters a cru­cial phase.

A New York Times/Siena Col­lege poll re­leased Satur­day showed San­ders with a slight edge over the other lead­ing can­di­dates, but the race re­mains com­pet­i­tive.

Sev­eral polls show Bi­den, But­tigieg and War­ren are still among the front-run­ners.

“There’s still plenty of time for move­ment,” said Kurt Meyer, chair­man of the Tri-County Democrats in north­ern Iowa.

Stuck in Washington for much of the past week, the se­na­tors in the race have flooded Iowa and other early vot­ing states with top­shelf sur­ro­gates — rock star law­mak­ers, former Cabi­net mem­bers, celebri­ties and spouses. The stand-ins aren’t a guar­an­teed way to sus­tain ex­cite­ment or win votes, but the cam­paigns see it as the best way to max­i­mize their reach in a nom­i­nat­ing fight that could turn on the nar­row­est of mar­gins in Iowa and other early states.

Bi­den isn’t bound to the Se­nate like some of his ri­vals, but he must nav­i­gate the trial none­the­less.

House Democrats’ charges that Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump abused his power and ob­structed Congress are rooted in the pres­i­dent pres­sur­ing Ukrainian of­fi­cials to in­ves­ti­gate dis­cred­ited the­o­ries about Bi­den’s for­eign pol­icy du­ties in Ukraine as vice pres­i­dent and his son Hunter’s per­sonal business deal­ings there.

Trump’s de­fense team be­gan its de­fense of the pres­i­dent Satur­day, and some Re­pub­li­cans are de­ter­mined to frame the mat­ter more around Bi­den than around the pres­i­dent.

After a brief trip to New Hamp­shire, the sec­ond state to vote in the Democrats’ nom­i­nat­ing process, Bi­den planned to re­turn to Iowa on Satur­day night and in­tended to re­main in the state un­til the cau­cuses Feb. 3.

He be­gan the day an­nounc­ing an en­dorse­ment from U.S. Rep. Cindy Axne, who joined her fel­low first­term con­gress­woman from Iowa, Abby Finke­nauer, in back­ing Bi­den.

Ahead of his ar­rival in Iowa, San­ders sent pro­gres­sive star and New York Rep. Alexandria Oca­sioCortez to the state. She ad­dressed dozens of San­ders vol­un­teers at one of his field of­fices in­side a strip mall, be­fore head­ing out to can­vass in Cedar Rapids. She promised to wear her green “Green New Deal” base­ball cap to join them on a clear but cold Satur­day.

“We are here to make a rev­o­lu­tion that lasts,” Oca­sio-Cortez said. She was sched­uled to later join San­ders and film­maker Michael Moore for a rally Satur­day night in Ames.

San­ders’ wife, Jane, and ac­tor Danny Glover were cam­paign­ing on his be­half in Ne­vada, which hosts the third nom­i­nat­ing con­test. Jane San­ders pre­dicted a strong show­ing in the early vot­ing states.

“I think we’ll win Iowa,” she told about 40 staff and vol­un­teers. “I think we’ll win New Hamp­shire. And then I think it’s up to you whether we win Ne­vada. But it looks great.”

San­ders’ ap­par­ent mo­men­tum in Iowa is enough for the But­tigieg cam­paign to re­spond. The cam­paign sent prospec­tive donors a fundrais­ing so­lic­i­ta­tion warn­ing of the Ver­mont se­na­tor’s strength.

“Bernie San­ders is rais­ing tons of money, he’s surg­ing in the polls, and he has dark money groups at­tack­ing his com­peti­tors,” the email said. “If things stay steady un­til the Iowa Cau­cuses in just nine days, Bernie San­ders could be the nom­i­nee of our party.”

War­ren has Ju­lian Cas­tro, the former Obama hous­ing sec­re­tary and one­time pres­i­den­tial can­di­date, in Ne­vada. U.S. Rep. Ayanna Press­ley, D-Mass., an­other star of the House fresh­man class like Oca­sio-Cortez, is in South Carolina.

The Se­nate ad­journed about noon EST Satur­day, giv­ing the pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates time to re­turn to Iowa for late-af­ter­noon and night events.

Sen. Michael Ben­net, DColo., was go­ing to New Hamp­shire.


Pres­i­den­tial hope­ful Sen. El­iz­a­beth War­ren de­parts the Capi­tol after the im­peach­ment trial wrapped for Satur­day. Some polls show War­ren still among the front-run­ners in Iowa.

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