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Candidates brace for frenzied weekend of Iowa campaigning

FILE - In this March 8, 2019 file photo, an audience member arrives at a rally for 2020 Democratic presidential candidate at the University of Iowa in Iowa City, Iowa. AP photo

Democratic presidential candidates are preparing for a final, frenetic weekend of campaigning ahead of the Iowa caucuses, kick-starting the battle to take on President Donald Trump in November.

Posted: Jan 31, 2020 2:44 PM

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Democratic presidential candidates are preparing for a final, frenetic weekend of campaigning ahead of the Iowa caucuses, kick-starting the battle to take on President Donald Trump in November.

Former Vice President Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, return to the campaign trail on Friday, a day after knocking each other and progressive rival Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Sanders, along with Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, were stuck in Washington for Trump's impeachment trial, but took steps to show their strength in Iowa. Warren announced the backing of two prominent Iowa Democrats and began airing television and online ads arguing she's the most electable candidate in a crowded primary field, capable of uniting the party and defeating Trump while silencing doubts that sexism could prevent a woman from winning the White House. Sanders' campaign, meanwhile, will host a concert featuring music from the band Bon Iver as part of his effort to energize young voters.

Speaking on Capitol Hill, Klobuchar said “you never know what's going to happen" with the impeachment schedule. But she said her campaign would move forward even if she is required to be in Washington on Monday, the day of the caucuses.

“I just say bring it on," she said. “Because I just have faith in the people of the country to actually want someone with the experience of standing up.”

Whenever they get to Iowa, the candidates will face a competition that is exceedingly fluid. Sanders, Biden, Buttigieg and Warren are bunched at the top of most Iowa polls, and Klobuchar has shown signs of strength in recent weeks. Everyone is looking for a strong showing here that could lift them heading into later contests that will help decide the Democratic nomination.

In a race that is so jumbled, competitions are intensifying among the candidates to at least emerge from Iowa as the leader of their ideological lanes. For Sanders and Warren, the caucuses represent an opportunity to consolidate support from progressives. They both back priorities such as endorsing universal, government-funded health care under “Medicare for All” and wiping out virtually all student debt. But neither of them has emerged as the undisputed leader of the party's left flank.

“The only way to not have that issue is to have one win and the other lose," said Rebecca Katz, a liberal Democratic strategist based in New York. “I think what you see is the progressive wing is very big and has a lot of needs. It’s not something where, all of a sudden, one becomes the leading progressive and all fall in line. Especially if they finish one-two (in Iowa), it’s not cut and dried.”

The moderate slice of the party is also struggling to unite behind options that include Biden, Buttigieg and Klobuchar.

As a former vice president who is competing in the Iowa caucuses for the third time, Biden is a well-known figure in the state and has won the backing of several leading current and former elected leaders. But attendance at his rallies has been relatively small in recent days, raising questions about the durability of his support. A super PAC aligned with his campaign has already poured $7.6 million into Iowa — meaning it may not be able to provide additional help in other states if Biden fails to meet expectations.

Biden has also intensified his attacks on Sanders, questioning whether the senator is truly a Democrat given his democratic socialist ideology. Sanders' camp has shrugged that off, saying it didn't work for Hillary Clinton during the 2016 Democratic primary and it won't resonate now.

Buttigieg, meanwhile, is under pressure to prove that eye-popping fundraising numbers will translate to caucus support by offering a two-pronged argument. He unveiled a video Friday stressing party unity. But, while campaigning, he has singled out Sanders as too uncompromising in his progressive views and Biden as being tainted by past political brawls during a long career in Washington.

While Sanders and Warren were equally unable to make their final appeals in person all week because of impeachment, being tethered to Washington may have been especially frustrating to Klobuchar. She had been seemingly gaining ground in Iowa but could see that momentum fade because she's been unable to make a final argument in the state.

In a telephone town hall with New Hampshire voters Friday, Klobuchar urged supporters to help ensure she doesn’t lose ground while “doing important work.”

“My ask of you is to run for me, to help me,” she said. In a memo to reporters, her campaign said that her being the only candidate to campaign in all 99 Iowa counties can boost Klobuchar in smaller counties, where the threshold of support needed to pick up delegates to the Democratic National Convention is lower.

“Achieving viability in rural and mid-sized precincts will propel us forward in the delegate count,” campaign manager Justin Buoen and senior caucus adviser Norm Sterzenbach wrote.

The race's fourth senator, Michael Bennet of Colorado, attempted to provide his own contrast to the rest of the field by unveiling a new television ad airing in New Hampshire, which votes after Iowa.

A field that was once the largest in modern history lost another member on Friday when John Delaney exited the race. The former Maryland congressman poured millions of dollars of his own money into the race but never gained traction.

“At this moment in time, this is not the purpose God has for me," Delaney told CNN.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 582576

Reported Deaths: 7284
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1208311715
Ramsey50357867
Dakota45046442
Anoka40774432
Washington26338278
Stearns21901220
St. Louis17502302
Scott16980124
Wright15722135
Olmsted1309797
Sherburne1139484
Carver1031645
Clay807492
Rice7952106
Blue Earth739241
Crow Wing651888
Kandiyohi647282
Chisago581051
Otter Tail567578
Benton560197
Goodhue470872
Mower460332
Douglas459574
Winona448450
Itasca417953
McLeod417258
Morrison413660
Isanti408262
Nobles406748
Beltrami387358
Steele381015
Polk379567
Becker375449
Lyon357650
Carlton340353
Freeborn339529
Pine323521
Nicollet320943
Brown303040
Mille Lacs297152
Le Sueur285322
Todd277431
Cass265528
Meeker250140
Waseca235721
Martin227731
Roseau205019
Wabasha20313
Hubbard183341
Dodge18133
Renville178043
Redwood170836
Houston169215
Cottonwood162721
Fillmore153810
Pennington153319
Wadena152321
Chippewa151338
Faribault149919
Kanabec142424
Sibley140910
Aitkin133136
Watonwan13009
Rock127219
Jackson121211
Pipestone113826
Yellow Medicine113520
Pope10806
Murray10559
Swift103918
Stevens88511
Marshall87417
Clearwater85716
Koochiching81314
Lake80619
Wilkin79812
Lac qui Parle74922
Big Stone5934
Lincoln5733
Grant5648
Mahnomen5408
Norman5379
Unassigned48893
Kittson48122
Red Lake3957
Traverse3685
Lake of the Woods3183
Cook1560

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 364579

Reported Deaths: 5902
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk57228619
Linn20701333
Scott19754239
Black Hawk15746307
Woodbury15087228
Johnson1439083
Dubuque13322209
Dallas1109597
Pottawattamie11036166
Story1054248
Warren572988
Clinton551692
Cerro Gordo535689
Sioux512474
Webster510892
Marshall480875
Muscatine473899
Des Moines451466
Wapello4283122
Buena Vista424140
Jasper413070
Plymouth400179
Lee372355
Marion360075
Jones296857
Henry290437
Carroll284752
Bremer282460
Crawford264340
Boone262334
Benton254955
Washington253050
Dickinson247343
Mahaska229250
Jackson220742
Clay214725
Kossuth214764
Tama208871
Delaware208040
Winneshiek196433
Page192121
Buchanan190431
Cedar188823
Fayette184441
Hardin184443
Wright183336
Hamilton179249
Harrison179173
Clayton168756
Butler163834
Mills161321
Madison160319
Floyd159542
Cherokee158338
Lyon157541
Poweshiek154633
Allamakee150351
Iowa147924
Hancock146434
Winnebago140831
Cass137654
Grundy135932
Calhoun135813
Emmet133740
Jefferson132135
Shelby130537
Sac130019
Appanoose128047
Louisa127849
Union127632
Mitchell125642
Chickasaw123615
Guthrie120729
Humboldt118726
Franklin116421
Palo Alto112123
Howard104122
Montgomery102737
Unassigned10070
Clarke99624
Keokuk95331
Monroe95028
Ida90334
Adair86232
Pocahontas85422
Monona82830
Davis81324
Osceola77916
Greene77610
Lucas76823
Worth7348
Taylor65612
Fremont6219
Decatur6059
Van Buren55618
Ringgold54524
Wayne53223
Audubon5069
Adams3374
Rochester
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