Government

2020 hopeful Elizabeth Warren heading to western Iowa, Des Moines

The Democratic senator adds campaign savvy staff in Iowa

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).
U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren from deep blue Massachusetts will take her 2020 presidential exploratory campaign this week to Western Iowa, where the most recent election results suggest the region’s deep red politics may be fading.

On the second-term senator’s first visit to Iowa since a 2014 campaign appearance with then-U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley, she will hold an event Friday in Council Bluffs and events Saturday in Sioux City, Storm Lake and Des Moines.

Other than Des Moines, those are areas President Donald Trump carried handily in 2016. His margins in Pottawattamie, Woodbury and Buena Vista counties were 22, 20 and 25 percentage points.

But in 2018, Republican U.S. Rep. David Young carried Pottawattamie County — where Council Bluffs is located — just 49 to 48 percent, and lost the district to Democrat Cindy Axne.

And Republican U.S. Rep. Steve King carried Buena Vista County (Storm Lake) 49 to 48 percent, but lost to Democrat J.D. Scholten 45 to 53 percent in Woodbury (Sioux City). Still, King won the district overall.

Those election results and the fact that Democrats have shrunk GOP margins in 89 of 99 Iowa counties since 2014 will encourage Warren and other candidates to explore opportunities in all parts of the state, Iowa Democratic Party Chairman Troy Price predicted.

“There’s a lot of opportunity in Western Iowa and rural Iowa,” Price said Wednesday. “There are real committed and dedicated Democrats in those areas, not just in the urban areas.”

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Caucus campaigns are not just about “running up the score” in urban, Democratic areas, but building organizations across the state, he said.

“It’s about relationship building in every county all across the state,” Price said.

Warren, who was the subject of a draft campaign ahead of the 2016 presidential election, said in a four-minute video Monday that she’s running to restore the promise of America that “if you work hard and play by the rules, you ought to be able to take care of yourself and the people you love.”

Her events will be open to the public and seats can be reserved on her Facebook page under “Events.”

Her schedule includes:

l Friday: McCoy’s Bar Patio and Grill, Council Bluffs, doors open at 5 p.m., event at 6 p.m.

l Saturday: Orpheum Theatre, Sioux City, doors open at 8:30 a.m., event at 9:30 a.m.; Our Place Community Center, Storm Lake, doors open at 11:45 a.m., event at 12:45 p.m.; and Curate events center, 322 Court Ave, Des Moines, doors open at 5:30 p.m., event at 6:30 p.m.

Warren also announced the hiring of four staff members with experience in Iowa — Kane Miller, Emily Parcell, Janice Rottenberg and Brendan Summers.

Miller worked for the campaigns of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton before leading Abby Finkenauer’s successful U.S. House campaign.

Parcell’s campaign experience includes stints with Al Gore in 2000, Dick Gephardt in 2004, Obama in 2008 and working in direct mail strategy for the past decade.

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Rottenberg has worked on campaigns from New Hampshire to Virginia to Ohio and Iowa. In 2016, she worked for Clinton in Iowa and in 2018 was the coordinated campaign director for the Iowa Democratic Party.

Summers served as Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ Iowa and national caucus director in 2016. He worked for the Iowa House Truman Fund and was the Iowa Democratic Party’s 2008 caucus-to-convention director and 2012 presidential caucus director.

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

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