Lesser-known Democrats looking for 2020 traction in Iowa

Hoping for the spotlight as higher profile candidates focus on 2018 midterm elections.

Posted: Aug 10, 2018 4:10 PM

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — John Delaney wasn't slowed Friday by a crush of national political press that sometimes swarms presidential candidates at the Iowa State Fair. Quite the opposite.

"Who is that?" retired child psychologist Bernard Wiesemann of Des Moines said as the three-term Maryland congressman — and declared candidate for the 2020 presidential nomination — strode anonymously down the fair's busy Grand Concourse.

"It's John-somebody, right?" said Linda Gundlach, who sold Delaney a lemonade at the popular Steer 'N Stein watering hole near the grandstand. "I was wondering who he was."

Such is the burden of little-known Democrats who have begun making visits to early presidential nominating states. With more than a year and a half before Iowa holds the caucuses that signal the beginning of the presidential nomination process, the top Democratic stars and many other rising national figures are staying away for now, focusing instead on the upcoming midterm elections.

Delaney ambled through the crowd unnoticed on the fair's sun-splashed first weekend day. With his wife April and daughter Grace, he was recognized at the Iowa Democratic Party's booth in the teeming Varied Industries Building. But, despite a couple news reporters and cameras in tow, he blended into the crowd as he waded into the building's labyrinth of hot tubs, garden tractors and workout equipment.

And Delaney is better known than most: He's visited 14 times since last year and is currently airing his seventh television ad since February.

Undeterred, Delaney was on course to cross the finish line in visiting each of Iowa's 99 counties by Sunday, a metaphor for his campaign's theme that Democrats need to bridge not the liberal-moderate divide, but rural-urban.

"It's a really important thing to do. First of all, I think Democrat should campaign everywhere," Delaney said during a speech to about 50 listeners, as other fairgoers marched by.

Chris Taylor recognized him, but that's because the 47-year-old health care administrator, visiting from Washington, D.C., had worked with him on federal policy.

Farm couple Don and Connie Waller of nearby Van Meter stopped Delaney. "We've seen your ads," 75-year-old Don told Delaney.

Despite the nationalization of more recent presidential campaigns, Delaney, like others such as California Rep. Eric Swalwell, is taking a chapter from previous Iowa Cinderella stories. As a little-known Georgia governor, Jimmy Carter famously crisscrossed Iowa to emerge as a rising star in 1976.

More recently, then-Vermont Gov. Howard Dean toiled in Iowa with little notice throughout 2002, but gained traction there as a favorite for the 2004 caucuses before fading down the stretch.

Delaney and others, such as Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, are among a handful presidential C-listers in Iowa this month, for the fair and other political stops ahead of November's midterms. They were already being overshadowed by the appearance of Michael Avenatti, the lawyer suing President Donald Trump on behalf of an adult film actress. Avenatti was appearing, along with Delaney, at an Iowa Democratic Party fundraising in northern Iowa Friday evening.

As if on cue, Delaney was further upstaged Friday, when former House Speaker John Boehner, in Iowa visiting a former congressional colleague, happened upon the Maryland congressman's speech.

Reporters covering Delaney turned their attention to Boehner and began an impromptu press conference with the Ohio Republican, as Delaney continued in the background.

Finally, Delaney turned his attention to the distraction.

"Mr. Speaker, what a nice surprise. Speaker Boehner is in the House. You're looking good, Mr. Speaker," Delaney gushed.

As applause for Boehner died down, Delaney continued, "So, it's hard to top that."

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

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Hennepin17789819
Ramsey6861261
Dakota3942102
Anoka3327112
Stearns281720
Washington188643
Nobles17456
Olmsted162023
Scott136214
Mower10782
Rice9898
Blue Earth8485
Wright8015
Carver7692
Clay74340
Kandiyohi6701
Sherburne6387
St. Louis42719
Todd4182
Lyon4153
Freeborn3541
Steele3271
Nicollet30713
Benton3043
Watonwan2980
Winona24516
Crow Wing20613
Martin2035
Le Sueur1991
Beltrami1910
Chisago1761
Goodhue1758
Otter Tail1753
Cottonwood1710
Pipestone1439
Becker1421
McLeod1350
Unassigned13540
Douglas1290
Itasca12912
Polk1293
Waseca1280
Pine1260
Carlton1240
Dodge1220
Murray1221
Isanti1080
Chippewa971
Brown832
Meeker832
Morrison831
Faribault820
Sibley782
Wabasha780
Koochiching733
Rock730
Jackson700
Pennington701
Mille Lacs643
Fillmore610
Cass582
Renville585
Lincoln540
Swift521
Grant491
Yellow Medicine490
Roseau450
Houston400
Pope390
Norman340
Redwood300
Aitkin280
Hubbard280
Kanabec281
Marshall280
Wilkin283
Mahnomen231
Wadena230
Big Stone220
Red Lake190
Lake170
Stevens150
Clearwater140
Traverse100
Lac qui Parle60
Kittson40
Cook20
Lake of the Woods10

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 45592

Reported Deaths: 877
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk9709202
Woodbury364250
Black Hawk299762
Linn208987
Johnson191815
Dallas178735
Buena Vista178412
Scott159012
Dubuque152729
Marshall138324
Pottawattamie121223
Story111013
Wapello84531
Muscatine82448
Crawford7153
Webster7125
Sioux5932
Cerro Gordo58117
Tama53729
Warren5261
Jasper45424
Plymouth4438
Wright4411
Louisa37814
Dickinson3754
Clinton3123
Washington28710
Hamilton2391
Boone2282
Franklin2134
Bremer1877
Clarke1853
Carroll1811
Emmet1791
Clay1711
Hardin1660
Shelby1591
Marion1520
Allamakee1494
Poweshiek1468
Benton1421
Des Moines1392
Jackson1391
Mahaska13617
Guthrie1265
Floyd1242
Jones1231
Cedar1201
Hancock1162
Butler1132
Pocahontas1131
Henry1123
Buchanan1101
Lyon1000
Madison1002
Cherokee971
Clayton973
Harrison960
Taylor930
Lee923
Delaware901
Monona900
Humboldt891
Iowa881
Winneshiek821
Calhoun812
Mills810
Sac810
Fayette790
Jefferson780
Palo Alto780
Kossuth770
Osceola770
Mitchell760
Page740
Winnebago730
Grundy721
Union701
Monroe667
Worth610
Chickasaw500
Davis491
Howard480
Cass471
Appanoose433
Lucas434
Montgomery433
Greene380
Fremont360
Van Buren311
Keokuk301
Ida290
Audubon281
Decatur210
Ringgold211
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