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Minnesota's Klobuchar all-in on Iowa as 2020 field grows

She said she's hoping for a top-three finish in the Iowa caucus.

Posted: Mar 15, 2019 11:29 AM

Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar is going all-in on Iowa as she tries to become the Democratic nominee for president, returning to the nation's leadoff caucus state this weekend for a flurry of stops — her third visit since launching her campaign just over a month ago.

Klobuchar pitches herself as the next-door neighbor who understands issues facing middle America, scoffs at a snowstorm and "can see Iowa from my front porch." At house parties, bars and spaghetti dinners she's referred to Iowans as "my friends" and reminded them she knows how to win in both big cities and rural areas, a key to defeating President Donald Trump in 2020.

It's a strategy that could make Klobuchar competitive in a state that prizes Midwestern familiarity and values. But Klobuchar will have mounting competition for Iowa voters — and plenty of company — as she works to stand out among better-known Democrats with a lot more money.

"I am a candidate from the heartland," Klobuchar told reporters in Des Moines recently, calling Iowa and the rest of the Midwest "an important part" of her path to success. She said she's hoping for a top-three finish in the Iowa caucus.

Her trip will coincide with the maiden Iowa voyage for Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke, the former Texas congressman who shot to stardom with his failed 2018 bid to unseat Sen. Ted Cruz.

O'Rourke has been polling higher in Iowa than Klobuchar, a three-term senator and regular visitor to the state. He's scheduled to attend the same Waterloo event a few hours after Klobuchar and also to visit Cedar Rapids, where Klobuchar will march in a St. Patrick's Day parade, inviting inevitable comparisons of crowd sizes and enthusiasm.

The crossover is to be expected with more than a dozen Democrats battling for the chance to unseat Republican President Donald Trump and several others, including former Vice President Joe Biden, potentially getting in the race soon.

Few face the same expectations to perform well in Iowa, however, as Klobuchar, who projects herself as a leading voice of the pivotal upper Midwest.

She has argued that her profile — granddaughter of an iron ore miner who's won in both rural and urban parts of Minnesota — would distinguish her in key general election states 2016 Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton lost to Trump, such as Wisconsin and Michigan.

But Klobuchar has seen no real movement in her standings among a long list of declared and potential Democratic candidates, according to Des Moines Register/CNN polls. In a poll this month, 3 percent name her as their first choice, unchanged from December before she announced her candidacy. Six percent say she is their first or second choice, also unchanged from December.

Biden topped the March poll with 27 percent saying he's their first choice. He was followed by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who was the first choice of 25 percent of people polled.

Klobuchar is still an unknown in Iowa, testing the theory that a neighboring state might be more friendly territory for her. There has been a slight decline from December in the share who say they don't know enough about her to have an opinion — 41 percent now versus 54 percent then. That change is about evenly distributed between favorable and unfavorable ratings of her, though Iowa Democrats are more positive (43 percent favorable) than negative (15 percent unfavorable) toward her overall.

Klobuchar's campaign says her grasp of rural issues and ability to win in non-urban areas will appeal to Iowa Democrats, who are looking for a nominee with the coattails to help candidates further down on the ballot return the GOP-controlled state Legislature to split government.

They also say Klobuchar will earn support from a wide range of caucus goers, including women and those looking for a "realist" and someone who can work with Republicans to get things done.

Former Iowa Democratic Party chairwoman Andy McGuire has signed on to be Klobuchar's Iowa campaign chairwoman, and the campaign is expected to announce several new Iowa staff hires soon, spokeswoman Carlie Waibel said.

___

Associated Press reporters Tom Beaumont in Des Moines, Iowa, and Hannah Fingerhut in Washington contributed to this report.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 41571

Reported Deaths: 1537
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hennepin13328790
Ramsey5169232
Dakota265596
Stearns249619
Anoka2393111
Nobles16846
Olmsted125920
Washington125541
Mower9822
Rice8798
Scott8584
Clay61238
Kandiyohi5901
Blue Earth5632
Wright5285
Carver4691
Todd4022
Sherburne3625
Lyon3332
Freeborn3120
Watonwan2670
Steele2451
Benton2363
St. Louis22316
Nicollet20312
Martin1755
Cottonwood1420
Winona14115
Goodhue1408
Le Sueur1251
Crow Wing11312
Pine1120
Otter Tail1111
Chisago1071
McLeod1000
Dodge960
Carlton900
Polk883
Unassigned8838
Isanti810
Chippewa801
Waseca770
Murray730
Itasca7112
Douglas700
Pipestone694
Morrison641
Becker620
Meeker621
Faribault610
Sibley582
Jackson570
Pennington530
Beltrami470
Brown442
Mille Lacs392
Wabasha380
Renville372
Fillmore350
Rock340
Swift331
Houston320
Yellow Medicine310
Grant250
Roseau250
Redwood230
Wilkin223
Koochiching211
Norman210
Cass192
Big Stone170
Kanabec171
Lincoln170
Wadena170
Aitkin150
Marshall130
Pope130
Clearwater120
Stevens110
Hubbard100
Mahnomen101
Lake60
Traverse60
Lac qui Parle50
Red Lake40
Kittson20
Cook10
Lake of the Woods00

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 34564

Reported Deaths: 747
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk7332184
Woodbury332944
Black Hawk249259
Buena Vista173711
Johnson14268
Dallas138531
Linn138183
Marshall109219
Scott103110
Dubuque94023
Story8575
Pottawattamie82112
Wapello71431
Muscatine68745
Crawford6803
Sioux5010
Tama48329
Wright3971
Louisa36513
Webster3655
Plymouth3465
Jasper34417
Warren3191
Dickinson2993
Cerro Gordo2841
Washington2519
Hamilton2011
Boone1681
Clay1491
Clarke1433
Allamakee1384
Clinton1321
Shelby1200
Mahaska11917
Carroll1131
Poweshiek1128
Bremer1107
Pocahontas1071
Franklin1040
Des Moines1002
Cedar951
Emmet950
Henry933
Hardin900
Cherokee831
Floyd812
Taylor810
Marion800
Monona780
Benton751
Guthrie754
Jones710
Butler682
Osceola680
Sac680
Buchanan631
Calhoun632
Iowa631
Jefferson620
Hancock601
Harrison600
Humboldt601
Fayette570
Jackson570
Lyon570
Delaware561
Madison552
Lee542
Monroe527
Palo Alto510
Clayton503
Grundy470
Mills470
Winneshiek460
Mitchell440
Davis421
Kossuth410
Union380
Howard370
Lucas354
Unassigned350
Winnebago340
Greene300
Chickasaw290
Cass280
Ida230
Keokuk231
Worth220
Appanoose213
Page210
Van Buren210
Audubon181
Adair170
Ringgold161
Decatur130
Montgomery122
Wayne110
Fremont100
Adams80
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