2020 by the numbers: Democratic candidates posting big stats

The Iowa caucus is still 10 months away, but the Democratic primary campaign is already an all-out sprint.

Posted: Apr 2, 2019 11:35 AM
Updated: Apr 2, 2019 11:37 AM

WASHINGTON (AP) — How many ways can you measure the first quarter of the year? For Democratic presidential candidates, it's 300-plus events, 26 states and hundreds of voter questions.

The Iowa caucus is still 10 months away, but the Democratic primary campaign is already an all-out sprint — passing eye-popping markers for campaign activity and voter engagement. Voters in Florida and Ohio may not see it, but weekends in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina — not to mention a handful of select states — are a blitz of candidate rallies and local meet-and-greets.

For some candidates the frenetic pace is the message, a way of casting themselves as tireless and willing to take every last question. Elizabeth Warren and Beto O'Rourke are trying to make an ambitious schedule and accessibility part of their brands, but Cory Booker and Kirsten Gillibrand have done their parts to keep up with several dozen events each, most in early-voting states.

It's far from clear that the candidate who holds the most events, whether leaping onto tables or addressing big rallies, will emerge as the candidate with the most votes. Still, Democrats watching the display from a distance say the engagement, the activity and the enthusiasm bode well.

"Broad picture: This is incredibly good for the Democratic Party," said Jim Messina, who managed President Barack Obama's re-election campaign.

The Democrats' contested 2008 primary and the GOP's packed 2016 field showed "that enthusiasm in primaries becomes very important in a general election," Messina said. That's because engaged backers are "more likely to do two things you need them to do" in order to win, he said: donate money and help persuade their social networks to vote.

For all the recent upheaval in politics, the 2020 campaign so far shows some things haven't changed. Retail campaign stops are still essential to breaking through in early-voting states that will play a central role in choosing the nominee. They are, perhaps, even more important in the social media era. One live-streamed rally that goes viral on social media can reach more voters than dozens of smaller events.

Even though no one metric can predict success, a look at the campaigns' tallies of on-the-ground engagement shows how some of the busiest road warriors are faring at the end of the first quarter.

Warren and O'Rourke are logging mileage in areas their party hasn't always traveled to early on and underscoring their appetite for grassroots interaction, a style Pete Buttigieg is also cultivating. Warren took more than 200 questions from voters and O'Rourke answered more than 350, according to their campaigns' first-quarter estimates.

That's a notable feat for O'Rourke, who only entered the race last month. The former Texas congressman has logged 55 first-quarter events in nine states where he publicly took voter questions, according to his campaign. Gillibrand held 59 public events in eight states since launching an exploratory committee in January, according to the New York senator's campaign. Buttigieg has held 35 events in 11 states since the South Bend, Indiana, mayor started an exploratory committee that same month.

Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar logged 36 public events in 10 states since forming her campaign in February, according to her campaign's tally.

California Sen. Kamala Harris has emerged as a top-tier contender despite fewer public events than some opponents, clocking in with 26 public first-quarter events in eight states since launching her campaign in January, according to an AP estimate. Harris' campaign said Monday night that she took more than 100 voter questions during first-quarter events, where total estimated turnout has topped 37,000.

Warren, a former law professor whose campaign is keeping detailed statistics, took questions at 48 events in 12 states over all three months, according to the Massachusetts senator's campaign. Her aides measure her commitment to voter engagement partly in selfies — estimating that she's taken more than 12,000 with voters so far. The tally of extra time after events is itself a strategic move, an argument that availability can win the day while other candidates spend time on the high-dollar fundraisers she's sworn off.

Other Democrats are consciously mixing up their number and types of public events. Booker is holding a bigger kickoff of a national tour soon after holding smaller events. The New Jersey senator's campaign estimates that he has held more than 50 public events in seven states since he jumped into the race in February and taken more than 350 voter questions.

A handful of other candidates have lagged behind in their total number of first-quarter events. Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper's campaign has logged 16 events, while Washington Gov. Jay Inslee held 12 events according to an AP tally. Former housing secretary Julian Castro has held more than a dozen of his own over the first quarter.

All of these candidates tend to fall behind Bernie Sanders in early polling of the Democratic field. Sanders, the runner-up in 2016, has held 17 major events in eight states and Washington, D.C., since declaring his candidacy in early March.

Not all of Sanders' events — nor those of other candidates — feature the sort of real-time voter questions that are a fixture of Warren's and O'Rourke's appearances. But Sanders' crowds illustrate his formidable ability to engage voters on his own terms: The Vermont senator's campaign projects a total turnout of 74,000 people for all of his events so far.

President Donald Trump famously upended the traditional calculus of campaigning in 2016 by making fewer retail visits as he powered past more than a dozen GOP rivals. Whether anyone in the Democratic field can repeat that model remains to be seen.

"We want to fall in love like we did with Barack Obama," Messina said of Democratic voters, "and to do that, you need to do the retail part of this."

Several candidates have made a point of veering off the beaten track, hoping a stop outside the early states will earn them some extra media attention and voter good will.

O'Rourke crossed six states in one week on his post-announcement road trip. Warren has made unexpected trips to Puerto Rico and the Deep South, eager to find a way to set herself apart from the pack.

When the Massachusetts senator touted her "not traditional" choice to visit Alabama during a rally there last month, a voice from the audience chimed in to note that "Obama did it."

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 770246

Reported Deaths: 8661
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1537491923
Ramsey63444980
Dakota57071526
Anoka54052520
Washington33690331
Stearns28419253
St. Louis23735361
Scott21652160
Wright21388171
Olmsted18144120
Sherburne15515115
Carver1366556
Clay1025399
Rice9985131
Blue Earth966659
Crow Wing9518109
Chisago837263
Kandiyohi835197
Otter Tail8061105
Benton7477111
Beltrami658079
Mower645541
Douglas629190
Goodhue619985
Itasca618885
Winona611854
McLeod595770
Steele585825
Isanti573074
Morrison557767
Becker534862
Polk512879
Freeborn487642
Nobles481652
Lyon456356
Carlton446866
Nicollet434454
Pine428532
Cass425745
Mille Lacs416967
Brown411547
Todd400036
Le Sueur386332
Meeker356854
Waseca327331
Martin326336
Wabasha29538
Hubbard292744
Dodge273510
Roseau265227
Fillmore243812
Redwood240443
Wadena238429
Houston231117
Renville228549
Faribault220630
Pennington217227
Sibley211612
Cottonwood197128
Kanabec192230
Chippewa190340
Aitkin184043
Watonwan171112
Pope16148
Yellow Medicine157220
Rock155319
Jackson147315
Koochiching138619
Clearwater136618
Murray135011
Swift134619
Marshall134520
Pipestone133427
Stevens124911
Lake109521
Wilkin102814
Lac qui Parle98524
Mahnomen90312
Norman8789
Big Stone7974
Grant7869
Lincoln7845
Kittson61122
Red Lake5899
Unassigned538124
Traverse5165
Lake of the Woods4764
Cook2460

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 474151

Reported Deaths: 6785
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk74657729
Linn29194394
Scott24733274
Black Hawk20335358
Woodbury19207244
Johnson17988100
Dubuque15834229
Pottawattamie14276200
Dallas14109108
Story1288551
Warren774296
Cerro Gordo6951110
Webster6950111
Clinton6929101
Des Moines667594
Marshall641885
Muscatine6352113
Wapello5936137
Jasper578279
Lee565689
Sioux565676
Marion508191
Buena Vista491746
Plymouth463487
Henry389847
Jones370861
Washington366856
Benton359257
Bremer357168
Boone350937
Carroll346353
Crawford339347
Mahaska322856
Dickinson301052
Clay279133
Buchanan279039
Jackson273546
Kossuth271873
Hardin270249
Tama264976
Fayette260649
Delaware258546
Cedar249526
Page249328
Wright243645
Hamilton233954
Winneshiek233338
Floyd221845
Harrison217777
Madison216925
Clayton214558
Poweshiek211741
Iowa208029
Butler206638
Cass201557
Jefferson201040
Mills199929
Allamakee194753
Cherokee193844
Lyon192941
Hancock187639
Winnebago186633
Calhoun186116
Appanoose180850
Shelby178439
Louisa171052
Grundy168537
Humboldt167727
Emmet167146
Franklin164628
Mitchell164043
Union162637
Chickasaw159318
Sac157924
Guthrie155434
Montgomery142342
Palo Alto142032
Clarke141328
Keokuk139635
Monroe134335
Howard128222
Ida118641
Greene116315
Davis115225
Lucas113724
Pocahontas111423
Monona108738
Worth10818
Adair105335
Osceola94017
Fremont86111
Van Buren84221
Decatur82612
Taylor79713
Wayne74824
Ringgold67727
Audubon66814
Adams5095
Unassigned380
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