Townhalls, forums and bus tours over the past week saw several Democratic presidential candidates converging on all corners of Iowa less than two months ahead of the Feb. 3 caucuses.
South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg drew about 2,000 people to a townhall in Coralville Sunday afternoon, including several protesters who held signs saying “0% support with black voters in S.C.” and “We need more than Pete.”
It wasn’t clear which candidate the protesters support, but Buttigieg did tell the crowd that people should “lift up” their own candidate instead of tearing others down.
Buttigieg leads in polling in Iowa with 25 percent support among likely Democratic voters. Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren came in second at 16 percent, with former Vice President Joe Biden and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders right behind at 15 percent.
Biden recently completed an eight-day swing through the state, visiting 18 counties on what he called a “No Malarkey” bus tour. Observers noted that Buttigieg’s strong presence in Iowa over the past few months was the reason for his strong polling. Biden topped the field of candidates in a recent national poll by Reuters/Ipsos at 19 percent, while Buttigieg was at 6 percent. That poll was released the same day that Biden received the endorsement of former Secretary of State John Kerry.
Buttigieg and Sanders – along with New Jersey Sen. Corey Booker, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, activist Tom Steyer and former Congressman John Delaney – were interviewed for four hours Friday night by the Iowa Farmers Union. The group has not yet endorsed a candidate.
Also Friday, a forum organized by the U.S. Conference of Mayors drew Julian Castro, Klobuchar, Steyer, Booker and Buttigieg. Castro is the former mayor of San Antonio and Booker is the former mayor of Newark.
Biden, Booker, Klobuchar, Sanders, Steyer and Buttigieg also participated Saturday in a forum put on by the Teamsters that drew 700 members. The event was seen as important enough that Teamsters President James P. Hoffa attended.
Steyer drew about two dozen people to an event Sunday morning at a coffee shop in Iowa City, while Booker drew several dozen to a talk at a nonprofit organization Saturday in the same town.
Author Marianne Williamson, businessman Andrew Yang and Castro have a combined 29 events planned across Iowa over the next week.