Democrat Amy Klobuchar — running for president as someone who can win even in conservative, rural areas — says she will become the first major 2020 candidate to have visited all 99 Iowa counties after stops scheduled for Friday in the leadoff caucus state.
The Minnesota senator, who wrapped up a four-day bus tour Monday that stopped in 27 counties, said Monday she will complete the statewide tour with visits to three counties in northwest Iowa on Friday, followed by a block party in Des Moines to celebrate. She has other stops planned in Iowa on Saturday.
Klobuchar argues she is the best candidate to take on President Trump in 2020 because she has a history of winning across Minnesota, including in Republican areas, by going to places where Democrats don’t typically campaign. Her campaign, which has focused heavily on Iowa, says hitting all 99 counties proves her mantra that she would be a president “for all of America.”
“Amy believes that for Democrats to win big, our party needs to bring people together around an optimistic, unifying agenda to get things done and improve people’s lives,” said Lauren Dillon, the campaign’s Iowa director. “Her approach to campaigning — not leaving any town or community behind — gets to the core of the kind of public servant she is and how she will lead as President.”
Interest in Klobuchar’s campaign has grown in recent months, thanks in part to strong debate performances, though in polling she still trails the top candidates for the Democratic nomination: former Vice President Joe Biden; Sens. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts; and Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind.
Klobuchar had pledged to visit all 99 counties before the Feb. 3 caucus, but stepped up her schedule to complete the visits before the end of the year because of an expected impeachment trial in the Senate next month that will cut into campaign time for the senators running. The three-term senator says she will be in Washington for the trial, and will find ways to campaign around that schedule or have surrogates — including her husband and daughter and elected officials supporting her campaign — do so.
Visiting all 99 counties in Iowa is known as doing a “Full Grassley,” after Republican Iowa Sen. Charles E. Grassley, who made it a point of pride, and is a feat other presidential candidates have touted over the years.
This election cycle, the first to complete it was former Maryland Rep. John Delaney, who announced his presidential run in mid-2017 but has not hit Democratic National Committee thresholds to qualify for the debate stage since the summer, when those requirements were lower. Klobuchar’s count includes public and private meetings with voters.