HIAWATHA — Nine days out, Amy Klobuchar is feeling good about where she is in the race for support in the first-in-the-nation Iowa caucuses Feb. 3.
“We’re surging,” the Minnesota senator told about 150 people Saturday afternoon at a house party in Hiawatha. “We’re firmly in the top five” of a field that once had more than 20 competitors.
Klobuchar has seen her numbers rise in polls, into double digits in some, and often is mentioned as a candidate who could break out at the end.
The end is near for the Iowa caucuses, but the impeachment trial in Washington, D.C., prevents Klobuchar from spending as much time campaigning in the state as she would like.
Opening arguments began Wednesday and continue next week.
“We’ll always have Sundays off,” Klobuchar said optimistically. “We’re just going to use every moment of that time to be out here.”
So far, she has been spending mornings — before the trial starts — to do interviews, especially with Iowa media. Klobuchar did a tele-town hall with thousands of Iowans on the call and is planning another in the week ahead.
“I don’t know what will happen next week,” she said in a post-house party interview, “but there is a chance we’ll be in until Saturday. We’ll just have Sunday” to campaign in Iowa ahead of the Monday night caucuses.
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“That’s just how it is,” Klobuchar said, “We’re going to find innovative ways to talk to Iowans.”
The house party hosted by Democratic state Sen. Liz Mathis and her husband, Mark, came together in less than 24 hours after Klobuchar learned the Senate would adjourn earlier than expected Saturday. The fact so many people turned out on short notice “tells us that what we’re feeling is real.”
What she’s telling Iowans this weekend in a whirlwind of events is that while she is sitting as a juror in the impeachment trial, Iowa Democratic caucusgoers are being called on to render a verdict on President Donald Trump.
Many of the things being talked about in the impeachment proceedings, “really go to where you are the juror and that is this election.”
“You are the juror in this primary and you are the juror in this election,” Klobuchar said in a 30-minute speech from a stepstool to be seen over the heads of her audience.
She called the election a “decency check, this is a patriotism check, this is a values on check for this country.”