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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

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 441935

Reported Deaths: 5885
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin918591461
Ramsey39405729
Dakota32551324
Anoka30638354
Washington19827221
Stearns17686184
St. Louis13453237
Scott1178693
Wright11485101
Olmsted1024870
Sherburne812364
Carver686636
Clay643278
Rice595266
Kandiyohi551069
Blue Earth533833
Crow Wing476573
Otter Tail449860
Chisago446331
Benton414885
Winona383946
Douglas370366
Nobles364646
Mower358026
Goodhue340757
Polk326754
McLeod321644
Morrison308743
Beltrami305746
Lyon298735
Itasca281143
Becker279438
Isanti279440
Carlton276942
Steele26879
Pine263813
Freeborn237219
Todd230029
Nicollet222136
Brown212334
Mille Lacs211645
Le Sueur206515
Cass203823
Meeker197433
Waseca187515
Martin168226
Wabasha16712
Roseau164916
Hubbard146937
Redwood138527
Renville136139
Houston133213
Dodge13134
Chippewa130632
Cottonwood125118
Fillmore12084
Wadena118214
Rock108511
Sibley10757
Aitkin106633
Watonwan10548
Faribault103214
Kanabec96818
Pennington95915
Pipestone92522
Yellow Medicine92514
Murray8585
Jackson84510
Swift82617
Pope7355
Marshall70115
Stevens6968
Clearwater68114
Lac qui Parle65216
Lake62215
Wilkin6179
Koochiching57910
Lincoln4771
Big Stone4513
Unassigned43568
Grant4247
Norman4218
Mahnomen4077
Kittson36619
Red Lake3154
Traverse2433
Lake of the Woods1741
Cook1130

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 300884

Reported Deaths: 4197
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk44949440
Linn17563269
Scott15228161
Black Hawk13552228
Woodbury12896175
Johnson1191749
Dubuque11229148
Pottawattamie8863112
Dallas874169
Story857433
Webster464768
Cerro Gordo458766
Sioux452451
Clinton445461
Warren430637
Marshall424561
Buena Vista389029
Muscatine382275
Des Moines377340
Plymouth347967
Wapello336796
Jasper315955
Lee310828
Marion298852
Jones268949
Henry262130
Carroll252233
Bremer240048
Crawford227622
Boone214116
Washington213531
Benton207543
Mahaska189936
Jackson189631
Tama184757
Dickinson183225
Delaware171136
Kossuth169241
Clay165319
Wright161724
Fayette157022
Buchanan156920
Hamilton156828
Hardin153129
Harrison152961
Winneshiek150819
Clayton149848
Cedar149119
Butler145423
Page143115
Floyd137236
Cherokee137125
Mills135216
Lyon133132
Poweshiek131024
Hancock127924
Allamakee125927
Iowa122122
Calhoun12159
Jefferson118623
Grundy118522
Winnebago117229
Madison11639
Mitchell114634
Louisa113729
Cass111741
Chickasaw110111
Sac110115
Emmet109931
Appanoose108838
Union107922
Humboldt103919
Guthrie102124
Shelby101026
Franklin99818
Unassigned9370
Palo Alto8969
Keokuk84225
Montgomery82722
Howard81119
Monroe79918
Pocahontas77211
Clarke7717
Ida73530
Greene6837
Davis68221
Adair68120
Lucas6458
Osceola6349
Monona62316
Taylor5889
Worth5873
Fremont5005
Van Buren49112
Decatur4744
Ringgold4229
Wayne41321
Audubon4118
Adams2923
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