Iowa’s Tom Harkin endorses Clinton for president

14 Aug 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Iowa’s Tom Harkin endorses Clinton for president.

Harkin, a retired 30-year U.S. senator who is arguably the most successful Democrat in Iowa’s history, said in an opinion piece published by The Des Moines Register on Thursday night that he and his wife believe Clinton will be the best fighter for social and economic justice. DAVENPORT, Iowa—Presidential candidates are flocking to the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines this week to eat artery-clogging carnival food, pose with farm animals and look for a springboard to prominence in a jam-packed Republican field. As Democrats, we’re fortunate to have a slate of candidates that are all fine individuals,” Harkin wrote, “but we need a fighter who has a record of getting things done and the vision for the future that will build on the progress we’ve made.” Harkin, 75, still has big clout in Iowa Democratic circles and his endorsement will likely send a powerful signal to undecided voters — 54% of likely Democratic caucusgoers say they’ve yet to settle firmly on a presidential candidate, according to a CNN/ORC poll released Wednesday. Iowans suffered a political blow this year when their traditional year-in-advance presidential straw poll was canceled in part over a lack of candidate interest.

The decision by Harkin, one of the most liberal senators in the Democratic Party, will no doubt disappoint other contenders, including Sanders, a Vermont U.S. senator and progressive firebrand who has been steadily climbing in the polls in Iowa and attracting massive, arena-sized audiences around the country, and former Maryland Gov. Harkin’s certainty about Clinton is a shift from September 2014, when he said that although Clinton was headlining his final Harkin Steak Fry fundraiser, that should not be considered an endorsement.

Aides collect their contact information and invite supporters to sign on as volunteers and county campaign chairs — and the lists are growing daily, Laudner said. Trump has authorized his campaign to build on its current ground force of 10 staffers, but so many volunteers have come forward to help throughout the state that said they really don’t need to hire more staff right now, Laudner said. After he abandoned his own bid for the White House in 1992, he promptly endorsed Clinton’s husband, Bill, who went on to win the presidency and re-election. “I have had the privilege of knowing Hillary Clinton for a long time,” said Harkin, whose years in the Senate overlapped Clinton’s time as a U.S. senator from New York. “She and I share many of the same deeply held beliefs.” Harkin wrote in his op-ed that they both believe everyone should be able to find well-paying jobs, that every child should receive the best education possible, that the elderly should be able to retire with dignity and security, and that everyone should have access to quality and affordable health care. John Kasich, are playing down expectations for Iowa and looking beyond to the New Hampshire primary. “Sometimes, it’s the last event they go to that decides who they like until they go to the next event,” said Judy Davidson, chairwoman of the Scott County GOP, as she waited for a Bush appearance here in Davenport in advance of his state fair speech. The parsing of Iowa is more uncertain than usual because of the unexpected rise of celebrity businessman Donald Trump and the absence of the straw poll, which was a fundraiser for the state party and traditionally provided an early test of candidates’ organization.

Another 19% said they are “leaning toward someone.” Only 15% said they have definitely decided. “We’re all just waiting for the Trump fever to break so we can continue with the regularly scheduled caucuses,” said Matt Strawn, who was Iowa’s GOP chairman during the 2012 presidential cycle. “He’s the first topic of conversation with every Iowa Republican you talk to. With some, it’s mentioned with an eye roll, and some have a sparkle in their eye.” Almost all of the GOP candidates are making the journey to the 11-day fair to do some old-fashioned retail politicking.

Confronted with hecklers in 2011, Mitt Romney shot back, “Corporations are people, my friend”—a retort Democrats used to paint him as an elite businessman out of touch with ordinary people. The Bush campaign hasn’t been raising expectations in Iowa, where Republican hostility toward illegal immigration runs high and makes his center-right position on the issue a big liability. Trump has a key adviser who knows Iowa well: Months ago, he hired Chuck Laudner, a widely respected Iowa GOP political operative, to be a top strategist for his campaign. Trump to translate his dominance in polls into durable Iowa support, because his bombastic style may not wear well among the state’s low-key voters. Winning Iowa is central to his campaign strategy, and last week he announced the endorsements of nine of the state’s 24 GOP state Senate Republicans.

Matt Whitaker, who ran for Senate in 2014 and has served as liaison for Iowa’s network of home-school families, said no candidate has consolidated evangelical support.

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