Biden’s Iowa Hires Signal Tightening In State Trump Won Big

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Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden speaks at McGregor Industries in Dunmore, Pa., Thursday, July 9, 2020. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Joe Biden’s presidential campaign has lined up a senior team in Iowa, a sign Democrats see the state where Republican Donald Trump beat them handily in 2016 as within reach.

Although Iowa’s six Electoral College votes hardly make the state a political jackpot, a competitive race for them this fall could signal problems for Trump in other northern states he won by smaller margins and would likely need to carry again to win reelection, chiefly Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

“I don’t know who will win Iowa, but I think the state is in contention in a way that six months ago you might not have suspected,” said David Axelrod, a former senior strategist to President Barack Obama. “The fact that Iowa is a close race means that those other states are very much in jeopardy for Trump.”

Biden has named veteran Democratic operative Jackie Norris as the senior adviser for his general election team in Iowa, where Trump beat Democrat Hillary Clinton by 9.4 percentage points in 2016, the campaign confirmed to The Associated Press on Thursday.

Norris, who was president and CEO of Goodwill Industries of Central Iowa until May, was the senior adviser to Obama’s winning 2008 Iowa caucus campaign and later directed Obama’s winning 2008 Iowa general election campaign before being tapped to serve as Michelle Obama’s first chief of staff in Washington.

Joining Norris as Biden’s Iowa campaign director is Lauren Dillon, who directed Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s 2020 Iowa caucus campaign. She was a senior advertising strategist for Democratic Senate candidates during the 2018 midterm elections after serving in several roles at the Democratic National Committee.

A Des Moines Register poll last month showed the race nearly tied in Iowa. Trump led Biden by more than 10 percentage points in the Register’s March poll.

The tightening in Iowa follows incremental gains by Democrats since Trump carried the state.

After a decade of steady Republican gains capped by Trump’s 2016 win, Democrats ousted two Republican House members in 2018, while also picking up seats in the legislature. Democrats have since pulled near even with Republicans in voter registration for the first time in seven years.

Trump’s campaign spent more than $400,000 in Iowa from April through late June, according to advertising data obtained by the AP. Meanwhile, Trump has reserved at least $5 million in advertising time in Iowa this fall, according to Advertising Analytics, a nonpartisan ad-tracking group.

“Trump folks know it is in play because they are advertising here,” said former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack, a Democrat who endorsed Biden last year.

Biden aides declined to say whether they planned an Iowa advertising campaign, though Democratic operatives unaffiliated with the campaign suggested one would be likely should the race remain close, given how relatively inexpensive television time is in the state.

Besides Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, Biden has staff organizing in Arizona, Florida, Nevada and North Carolina.

The Trump campaign named a senior Iowa team almost a year ago, including Eric Branstad, son of former Gov. Terry Branstad, as senior adviser.

Though Trump campaign aides declined to comment on the advertising, campaign spokesperson Preya Samsundar said the campaign had made more than a million voter contacts in the state and had volunteers in all of Iowa’s 99 counties.

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10 COMMENTS

  1. The reason I fear Biden will win is because America has sunk in immorality and will fall. Unless somehow Trump stops gay marriage. Badin means baadin with Judgement. Hard times are coming. And israel as well is in trouble.

  2. Does Joe Biden really exist? I’m being serious. If his disappearance from public view is alleged because of Corona and he’s hiding out in his basement, how can we, as voters, know anything about him and what he stands for? A real candidate is always grabbing any microphone he can find and runs to the closest cameras. What is Joe Biden? Who is Joe Biden? Why should I vote for him? What will he bring to the table? How will he make MY life better? How will he make my family feel safe? What is his experience? What is his temperament? Does he have leadership skills? How can I make an honest decision on which candidate would enhance my life and the life of my community if I never hear or see from one of them?

    • So a real candidate is a camera hound but someone who has a 40 year record is not a real candidate. Most of Biden’s positions are already pretty well known if you choose to inform yourself.

    • He only has 2 books published and headed multiple congressional committees whose proceedings were televised. Oh yeah, he was also Vice President of the U.S. He was also co-chairman of the NATO Observer Group in the Senate.

      • Go ahead. I’m still waiting to hear something he’s accomplished for the betterment of the American people. Being VP is not an answer. The only job a VP has, is to stay out of trouble and stare at the left ear of the President every time he talks. Writing books? Jane Fonda wrote books. Hitler also wrote books. Next. Congressional chairman? Adam Schiff and Jerrold Nadler are also. Need I say more? Joe Biden hiding in his basement with a mask covering his Depends, doesn’t inform the American people of anything. He is the phantom candidate, a straw man. Do you know how he plans to lead this Nation? His handlers never said anything substantial. Other than criticizing the current President, his handlers (because he personally won’t say a word) never say what HE would do differently. Would you vote for a local councilman who hides from the public and doesn’t campaign to get his message out? Assemblyman? Mayor of NY? Congressman? Senator? If you answered yes to any of the above, you are lying and there is no point in having a discussion with someone who is so dishonest and biased.

    • “Why should I vote for him” Just to move on from this 4 years of Total disaster. More antisemmitism in the Entire USA than any time in history. Unemployment highest in history, total failure on Corona etc.

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