IOWA CAUCUS 2020

Amy Klobuchar, Elizabeth Warren pick up endorsements from Iowa legislators who previously backed other candidates

Democrats in 'Amy's Army' seek to carry on caucus campaign while senator attends impeachment trial

Sens. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and Tom Cotton (right), R-Ark., arrive Tuesday at the U.S. Capitol for the Senate impeachm
Sens. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and Tom Cotton (right), R-Ark., arrive Tuesday at the U.S. Capitol for the Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump. The trial is preventing Klobuchar, a Democratic presidential candidate, from being able to campaign regularly in Iowa in the final weeks before the Feb. 3 caucuses. Fifteen of her supporters in the Iowa Legislature held a news conference Tuesday in Des Moines to help “make her presence felt” in the state. (Associated Press)

DES MOINES — With Sen. Amy Klobuchar tied up in the Senate impeachment trial, Iowa legislators who support the Minnesota Democrat rallied for her Tuesday at the Capitol.

“We’re ready to make her presence felt through us,” Sen. Liz Mathis, D-Hiawatha, said at a Statehouse news conference that featured 15 lawmakers who have endorsed Klobuchar.

With arguments in President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial underway, Klobuchar and other senators are required to be at their desks in the Senate chamber.

So it’s left to “Amy’s army” to campaign, the lawmakers said.

Among those endorsing Klobuchar are legislators who previously endorsed candidates who have dropped out of the 2020 Democratic presidential race.

Rep. Chris Hall, D-Sioux City, who worked for the Beto O’Rourke campaign, is backing Klobuchar “because she best understands the challenges and opportunities that Iowans have in front of them.”

“Her commitment to increase access to one- and two-year community college degrees and technical certifications will be transformative for people in my district and throughout Iowa,” he said.

Rep. Monica Kurth, D-Davenport, had backed New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker but now is behind Klobuchar as well.

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“Amy understands how important it is to make one- and two-year degrees and technical certifications an accessible, exciting, and respected option for students, and she has developed the plan to do so,” said Kurth, a former community college instructor.

Not all former Booker backers are moving to the Klobuchar camp. Reps. Jennifer Konfrst of Windsor Heights and Heather Matson of Ankeny announced they are backing Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

“Nothing is more important to me than electing a president who has a vision for ensuring everyone in our country has a chance at the American dream,” Konfrst said.

“After a long Iowa caucus campaign, Elizabeth Warren has emerged as the best candidate to defend our shared values, ensure opportunity for all and give a voice to those too often left behind,” Matson said.

Separately, Sen. Rob Hogg, D-Cedar Rapids, announced his support for Klobuchar, citing her working family background, extensive experience on farm and rural issues, and strong commitment to civil rights.

“Like many of our candidates, Klobuchar is a strong leader for climate action,” said Hogg, who interviewed 19 Democratic candidates in “climate conversations” during the monthslong lead-up to the first-in-the-nation Iowa caucuses Feb. 3. Klobuchar’s visits to flood-affected parts of Iowa convinced Hogg “she knows that Americans today are already being hurt by climate-related disasters” and has a plan to “lay the foundation for even more action on climate at home and around the world in the decade of the 2020s.”

Other sitting legislators supporting Klobuchar are Sens. Kevin Kinney, Rich Taylor and Todd Taylor, and Reps. Marti Anderson, Bruce Bearinger, Karin Derry, Molly Donahue, Ruth Ann Gaines, Charlie McConkey, Andy McKean, Sharon Steckman and Cindy Winckler.

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

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