2020 candidates rally Iowa Democrats at Zach Wahls’ fundraiser

Presidential candidates joined Iowa Democrats from the House of Representatives and the Senate in calling for Democrats to take back the U.S. Senate and Governorship in Iowa at a birthday fundraiser for Iowa State Senator Zach Wahls.


Tian Liu

Mayor of South Bend, Indiana Pete Buttigieg talks with voters during a brunch fundraiser for Sen. Zach Wahls at the Walker Homestead on July 14, 2019.

Rylee Wilson, News Reporter

2020 Democratic presidential hopefuls called for Iowa Democrats to take back the state Legislature at an event on July 14, along with candidates for Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District and U.S. Senate.

Candidates spoke at a birthday fundraiser for Sen. Zach Wahls, D-Coraville, including five candidates for the Democratic presidential-nomination: Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet, former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, and former Maryland Rep. John Delaney.

Klobuchar said Iowa Democrats are on the way to taking back the Iowa Statehouse in 2020.

“I am someone who knows when you run for office — you don’t just run for yourself — you run for a movement, you run for a ticket, you run to serve our country and keep our country as strong as it can be,” Klobuchar said. “There is no stronger example of that than what we need to do in this state.”

All of the presidential candidates spoke about their potential to unseat President Trump.

Buttigieg positioned himself as someone able to take on Trump with a value-oriented campaign.

“We have this fantastic chance to let America know that Heartland values are not conservative values, they are shared by all of us,” he said. “They have progressive intent when you take them seriously.”

The brunch was also attended by Rita Hart, a Democratic candidate in the 2nd District, and Senate candidates Theresa Greenfield and Eddie Mauro.

Hart was introduced by Rep. Dave Loebsack,D-Iowa, who will leave his seat in January 2020. Loebsack said Iowa’s 2nd District is not an easy one for a Democratic candidate, because the district voted for Trump in 2016. Loebsack endorsed Hart ahead of the 2020 elections.

“I’m going to do everything I can to make sure that Joni Ernst is a one-term senator,” Loebsack said. “I’m going to make sure that we take back the Iowa House and get as close to taking back the Iowa Senate as we can.”

Hart focused her speech on keeping Iowa’s 2nd District in Democratic hands.

“The Republicans want to get this seat — they know it’s their chance — they know this seat went for Trump by 4 percentage points,” Hart said. “We’re all going to have to work hard to keep this seat in Democratic hands.”

Both candidates challenging Ernst, Greenfield and Mauro, spoke against Ernst’s policies on trade, saying they hurt Iowans.

Greenfield also supported the idea of using down-ballot races to bolster Democratic power.

“While meeting all the presidential candidates — they are going to need us to win Iowa so we can win back the majority in the U.S Senate,” Greenfield said.

For Katie Slivovsky, a voter from Chicago, there’s no telling at this point in the race who is the most electable Democratic hopeful.

“I feel like all bets are off — it is a brand-new day, it is a brand-new game, and if anyone shows us that — it’s Trump when he got elected — it was a shock to a lot of us,” she said. “It goes without saying that I’m going to support whoever’s running against Trump. I don’t think at this stage in the game anyone can say with confidence who that will be.”