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Iowa congresswoman endorsing Joe Biden's presidential bid

Joe Biden has landed a high-profile endorsement for his presidential bid as Rep. Abby Finkenauer becomes the first member of the Iowa congressional delegation to take sides in the Democratic nominating contest.

Posted: Jan 2, 2020 6:07 AM

Joe Biden has landed a high-profile endorsement for his presidential bid as Rep. Abby Finkenauer becomes the first member of the Iowa congressional delegation to take sides in the Democratic nominating contest.

Finkenauer, a first-term House member from a district Donald Trump won in 2016, will campaign with Biden this weekend, with less than four weeks to go before the Feb. 3 Iowa caucuses that lead off Democrats' 2020 voting.

The congresswoman said in an interview with The Associated Press ahead of Thursday's announcement that the former vice president's experience, his proposals on infrastructure and other economic matters and his appeal to a wide range of voters make him the ideal Democrat to take on Trump.

“We need somebody at the top who can lead from the White House, someone who’s willing to unite not just Democrats but the country,” Finkenauer said. “There are days where I swear Democrats and Republicans are speaking different languages, and there’s no translator. ... (Biden) is the translator.”

At 31, Finkenauer also gives the 77-year-old Biden a potential bridge to younger Democrats, a group that has proved to be more skeptical of his candidacy than older voters.

The congresswoman is scheduled to appear alongside Biden in at least eight cities and towns as part of a 10-county, five-day Iowa tour that begins Thursday. It won't be their first pairing; Finkenauer was among the dozens of Democratic House candidates Biden campaigned for ahead of the 2018 midterms.

Her potential influence, even as a freshman, was on display in November, when nine presidential candidates visited her northeastern Iowa district for a forum she co-sponsored with labor groups. That slate included the four candidates — Biden, former Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana, Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont — who polls suggest are the top contenders in Iowa.

Finkenauer did not frame her support for Biden as a rejection of his rivals, saying she's "not going to speak to what’s going to win votes and what’s not.” Yet her explanation aligns with Biden's argument that a center-left approach, coupled with his record as a senator and vice president, makes him Democrats' best option in a general election.

Finkenauer specifically cited Biden’s proposals for new infrastructure spending and his role in the 2010 health care overhaul becoming law, saying Biden connects the “big picture” to “what it means around kitchen tables across the country."

Biden and Finkenauer share similar electoral strategies, as well.

A small-town Iowa native, Finkenauer defeated a Republican incumbent in 2018 emphasizing her family’s deep ties to the district and establishing cultural connections with voters who've grown increasingly skeptical of Democrats. At the same time, she carved out a policy profile that, like Biden's, reflects Democrats' leftward evolution but with a more cautious agenda than the progressive left fueling Warren and Sanders. Finkenauer and Biden are staunch allies of organized labor. Finkenauer campaigned heavily on paid family leave and infrastructure improvements. Like Biden, she supports expanding the 2010 health care law but stops short of single-payer, all-government insurance like what Sanders and Warren support. She also campaigns aggressively in her district’s rural areas and small towns, venues like those that have dominated Biden’s itinerary in his recent rips to Iowa.

“It goes back to the uniting factor,” Finkenauer said of her endorsement. “You can’t divide rural America and our cities. They do require different attention and different plans, but if rural America is forgotten, then our cities are also hurt, and vice versa. He’s understood that from the beginning.”

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 22464

Reported Deaths: 942
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hennepin7540565
Ramsey2610103
Stearns198412
Nobles14883
Anoka126259
Dakota118244
Olmsted57510
Washington56230
Kandiyohi4751
Rice4112
Clay40625
Scott3792
Todd2960
Wright2691
Sherburne2192
Mower2161
Carver1852
Benton1692
Steele1480
Martin1265
Blue Earth1221
St. Louis11513
Freeborn970
Pine850
Winona7815
Nicollet747
Carlton730
Cottonwood650
Otter Tail620
Unassigned6110
Goodhue603
Watonwan590
Polk592
Crow Wing571
Itasca537
Chisago501
Dodge460
Chippewa441
Meeker440
Le Sueur431
Morrison400
Douglas390
Jackson390
Becker370
Murray360
Lyon360
Isanti330
McLeod290
Waseca240
Rock210
Swift170
Pennington170
Mille Lacs171
Fillmore171
Wabasha170
Brown142
Faribault130
Beltrami130
Sibley130
Cass122
Norman110
Wilkin113
Kanabec111
Pipestone100
Marshall90
Pope80
Wadena80
Aitkin70
Koochiching70
Yellow Medicine60
Lincoln50
Renville50
Mahnomen51
Red Lake40
Traverse30
Big Stone30
Clearwater30
Redwood30
Grant30
Lac qui Parle30
Houston20
Lake10
Hubbard10
Roseau10
Kittson10

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 18342

Reported Deaths: 496
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk3876115
Woodbury265831
Black Hawk171343
Linn93876
Marshall87815
Dallas87317
Buena Vista6820
Johnson6058
Muscatine54741
Wapello5384
Crawford4882
Tama40026
Scott34610
Louisa33610
Dubuque33016
Jasper25716
Pottawattamie2277
Sioux2100
Washington1858
Wright1240
Allamakee1194
Plymouth1191
Warren1140
Story961
Poweshiek888
Mahaska888
Bremer676
Henry671
Clinton601
Des Moines581
Boone560
Taylor480
Cedar461
Guthrie443
Clarke400
Benton391
Jones360
Iowa360
Monroe354
Shelby350
Clayton313
Buchanan310
Osceola310
Marion300
Webster291
Hamilton280
Madison261
Fayette260
Monona240
Lee230
Cherokee230
Winneshiek230
Cerro Gordo221
Davis200
Jefferson190
Harrison190
Lyon190
Grundy190
Floyd181
Sac170
Mills160
Hardin150
Butler150
Delaware150
Humboldt140
Ida140
Keokuk140
Hancock140
Appanoose133
Jackson130
Dickinson130
Clay130
Greene130
Howard120
Audubon121
Winnebago110
Cass110
Page100
Van Buren90
Franklin90
Carroll90
Pocahontas90
Chickasaw80
Emmet80
Unassigned80
Kossuth80
Adair70
Adams70
Lucas70
Union60
Montgomery60
Mitchell50
Ringgold40
Fremont40
Palo Alto30
Worth30
Calhoun20
Decatur10
Wayne10
Rochester
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Austin
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Charles City
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