Clinton, Sanders headline a special dinner

%28from+left%29+Vermont+senator+Bernie+Sanders%2C+former+Maryland+governor+Martin+O%27Malley+and+former+Secretary+of+State+Hillary+Clinton+stand+on+stage+of+the+Iowa+Democratic+Hall+of+Fame+ceremony+on+Friday%2C+July+17%2C+2015.+Five+democratic+presidential+candidates+gave+speeches+during+the+event.+%28The+Daily+Iowan%2FSergio+Flores%29
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Clinton, Sanders headline a special dinner

(from left) Vermont senator Bernie Sanders, former Maryland governor Martin O'Malley and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stand on stage of the Iowa Democratic Hall of Fame ceremony on Friday, July 17, 2015. Five democratic presidential candidates gave speeches during the event. (The Daily Iowan/Sergio Flores)

(from left) Vermont senator Bernie Sanders, former Maryland governor Martin O'Malley and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stand on stage of the Iowa Democratic Hall of Fame ceremony on Friday, July 17, 2015. Five democratic presidential candidates gave speeches during the event. (The Daily Iowan/Sergio Flores)

(from left) Vermont senator Bernie Sanders, former Maryland governor Martin O'Malley and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stand on stage of the Iowa Democratic Hall of Fame ceremony on Friday, July 17, 2015. Five democratic presidential candidates gave speeches during the event. (The Daily Iowan/Sergio Flores)

(from left) Vermont senator Bernie Sanders, former Maryland governor Martin O'Malley and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stand on stage of the Iowa Democratic Hall of Fame ceremony on Friday, July 17, 2015. Five democratic presidential candidates gave speeches during the event. (The Daily Iowan/Sergio Flores)

Aaron Walker, [email protected]

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A hum of anticipation has overtaken the state of Iowa in preparation for Saturday’s Jefferson-Jackson Dinner hosted by the Iowa Democratic Party.

Frontrunner and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her main competitor Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, will likely draw the largest crowds.

Katy Perry, along with former President Bill Clinton, will campaign for Hillary Clinton prior to the event.

The Sanders team will host seven watch parties across the state. The main event will be in Des Moines’ Capital Square Atrium, and others will take place in Davenport, Cedar Rapids, Sioux City, Cedar Falls, Council Bluffs, and Dubuque.

More than 6,000 tickets have been sold to for the dinner, more than 200 media members are set to attend, and Iowans across the state will tune in to watch the Democrats take center stage at Hy-Vee Hall in Des Moines at 7 p.m. on Saturday.

But former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley is aiming to demonstrate his support in Iowa before the event.

“Gov. O’Malley will draw sharp contrasts with the other candidates and further lay out his record of delivering results on progressive issues,” said Kristin Sosanie, an O’Malley campaign official. “What sets him apart from the rest of the field is his record of actions, not just words.”

He will begin the day speaking in Osage and follow up with a meet-and-greet concert at 3:30 in Des Moines.

O’Malley is the favorite candidate of just 2 percent of Iowans, according to the latest *Des Moines Register*/Bloomberg Politics Iowa Poll, with an error margin of 4.9 percentage points, released Thursday.

This weekend marks his 14th visit to the state since announcing his candidacy.

The dinner can turn around or kill off campaigns for candidates in Iowa, said Tom Henderson, the head of the Polk County Democrats.

“I think it can be a make or break event for any candidate if they are able to do something memorable,” Henderson said. “The frontrunners have the toughest job at the JJ dinner because everybody expects a big show. If a candidate who’s not a frontrunner shows up with a big crowd, it can be a pretty big deal.”

While O’Malley is hoping to make a final push in the last 100 days before the Iowa caucuses, former Rhode Island Gov. and Sen. Lincoln Chaffee doesn’t plan to rally before the event. Chaffee, Henderson said, is not doing himself any favors.

“I have not met Lincoln Chaffee, I have not met any organizers for his campaign, and I have not met anyone who is going to caucus for Lincoln Chaffee,” Henderson said.

Clinton and Sanders, though, are hoping to solidify their support in the state.

Clinton leads Sanders in the latest Iowa poll by 7 percentage points with 48 percent, according to the same *Register* poll. For the past week, Clinton volunteers across the state were given vouchers for Clinton’s pre-dinner event.

“Supporters and volunteers from across the state are excited to come to Des Moines this weekend to show their support for Hillary Clinton as she hits the JJ stage – and maybe to dance to a Katy Perry song of two,” said Patrick Burgwinkle, a Clinton officials, in a statement.

Sanders, polling in second with 41 percent of likely Democratic caucus-goers, will also host a rally and march before the event.

Sanders official Lilia Chacon said she expects him to speak on income inequality, providing free tuition for public universities, and prison reform in a “condensed and intense version” of his policy platforms.

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