‘We need someone who can win’ — Biden rallies support at Iowa City office opening

Joe Biden attended an office opening in Iowa City, adding to a his growing Iowa ground game. Several supporters there said Biden's reputation and electability was what kept their support.

Former+Vice+President+and+2020+democratic+candidate+Joe+Biden+greets+attendees+at+the+opening+of+his+campaign+office+on+S.+Gilbert+St.+on+Wednesday%2C+August+7%2C+2019.+%28Jenna+Galligan%2FThe+Daily+Iowan%29
Back to Article
Back to Article

‘We need someone who can win’ — Biden rallies support at Iowa City office opening

Former Vice President and 2020 democratic candidate Joe Biden greets attendees at the opening of his campaign office on S. Gilbert St. on Wednesday, August 7, 2019. (Jenna Galligan/The Daily Iowan)

Former Vice President and 2020 democratic candidate Joe Biden greets attendees at the opening of his campaign office on S. Gilbert St. on Wednesday, August 7, 2019. (Jenna Galligan/The Daily Iowan)

Jenna Galligan

Former Vice President and 2020 democratic candidate Joe Biden greets attendees at the opening of his campaign office on S. Gilbert St. on Wednesday, August 7, 2019. (Jenna Galligan/The Daily Iowan)

Jenna Galligan

Jenna Galligan

Former Vice President and 2020 democratic candidate Joe Biden greets attendees at the opening of his campaign office on S. Gilbert St. on Wednesday, August 7, 2019. (Jenna Galligan/The Daily Iowan)

Sarah Watson, Politics Editor

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






Former Vice President Joe Biden helped open a new campaign office in Iowa City on Aug. 7, boosting the number of his offices in Iowa up to 12.

In a brief speech to a sweltering room on Gilbert Street with a 150-person capacity, Biden condemned President Trump, painting himself as the Democratic candidate who could win enough support to beat the president. He also repeatedly said he would “show up” to get Iowans’ votes both before and after the caucuses.

Now, the Biden campaign has 75 staff members in Iowa. The former Delaware senator will head to the Iowa State Fair on Aug. 8.

“We can’t get anything done unless we restore the integrity of this country, restore the soul of this country,” Biden said in Iowa City while standing on a counter to see attendees in the back of the room. “Because it damages us around the world, it’s damaging us at home.”

Jenna Galligan
Former Vice President and 2020 democratic candidate Joe Biden speaks to attendees at the opening of his campaign office on S. Gilbert St. on Wednesday, August 7, 2019.

Those interviewed by The Daily Iowan reflected that characterization when describing their support for the former vice president.

Joseph Blay, 62, said he believed Biden’s lengthy career in politics was one of his key strengths. Blay had a career in the Army until retiring three years ago in Alabama and moving to Iowa City. Blay, who has lived in various parts of Europe and Iraq throughout his life, said he supported Biden because he would be well-respected all over the world, citing his own complaints with Trump’s handling of North Korean threats and pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal. He added he didn’t want a president who would take the U.S. to war.

“Experience matters,” Blay said. “… Biden has the scoop of what goes on in the government, so he can start in and fix things right away.”

Biden spent eight years as vice president to Barack Obama, and he served as a U.S. senator from Delaware from 1973-2009.

Tom and Jen Seery a couple in their late 40s from Coralville see Biden as a “moral authority.”

Jen Seery, who brands herself as a “very progressive Democrat,” said she supports Biden although she leans further left because she said that to first enact change, a candidate has to be elected, and she believes Biden has the best chance to defeat Trump in a general election.

The southeast Pennsylvania native noted that she believes Biden had a record of learning from his mistakes.

“He’s a very straight shooter,” she said. “He tells it like it is, he is not afraid to admit mistakes and grow from those mistakes or help others who’ve made mistakes … and really that’s where wisdom and good leadership comes from.”

Dixie and Phillip Emmert, both ardent Biden supporters, drove 20 minutes from Frytown, around 12 miles southwest of Iowa City, to see Biden.

Phillip Emmert spent 14 years in federal prison for conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine before his sentence was commuted by then-President George W. Bush in 2006, which helped shape his viewpoint on life and politics.

“My political views have always been to help the needy and help the downtrodden,” he said, which is why he’s always been a Democrat.

Jenna Galligan
Former Vice President and 2020 democratic candidate Joe Biden discusses education with an attendee, referring back to an earlier speech at the opening of his campaign office on S. Gilbert St. on Wednesday, August 7, 2019.

They said they’re offering their support because they believe he’s the most electable and has the best track record of government service.

“We need someone who can win, and he can win,” Phillip Emmert said. “People trust him.”

Organizers said around 230 people attended the office opening, which was decorated with a wall mural and signs that read “ridin’ with Biden.”

Earlier on Aug.7, Biden visited Burlington, where he said Trump has “fanned the flames of white supremacy in this nation,” according to prepared remarks. Biden said Trump’s rhetoric encourages racially motivated violence such as the shooting in El Paso on Aug. 3.

“How far is it from Trump’s saying this ‘is an invasion’ to the shooter in El Paso declaring ‘this attack is a response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas?’ ” he said. “Not far at all.”

On the morning of Aug. 7, Biden added a Des Moines “Presidential Gun Sense Forum” to his Aug. 10 schedule. Nine other candidates are scheduled to join him at the forum: Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro, California Sen. Kamala Harris, Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren.