The time for deciding in the Iowa Caucus is upon us after two weeks of important developments in the Democratic primary. The first debate gave voters a closer look at how the candidates compare to each other. Vice President Joe Biden declined to run. Jim Webb and Lincoln Chafee dropped out. Hillary Clinton easily handled her 11-hour Benghazi committee hearing. And the Jefferson Jackson Dinner gave the candidates a chance to make their pitch and show off their campaigns to Iowa’s activists.
For Scott Ourth, a two-term State Representative from Warren County with a long history of political campaign work, the JJ Dinner gave him the final push needed to endorse Hillary Clinton for the Iowa Caucus.
“I liked her message for the future with our kids,” Ourth says of Clinton’s speech on Saturday night. “She said you shouldn’t have to be the grandchild of a former president to have access to a good education, to good healthcare, to a safe environment. I know that’s very much not only a part of her message, but it’s something that she cares about very deeply. It’s a part of her core as a human being. Those things matter to her. She’s a fighter, man, and she’ll take it to the streets to make sure it gets done.”
“It’s important for me to endorse now and to not be the guy who jumps on a fully-loaded train and it’s a forgone conclusion,” Ourth says. “I’d rather be the guy who sorts it out early and have time to do something, work toward having a successful caucus for my candidate, call people and convince people … This was about the right time – Joe Biden decided he wasn’t going to do it, and no one else is jumping in. So the field develops.”
On Clinton’s chief rival for the nomination, Ourth, a long-time Democratic Party campaign operative before being elected to the Iowa Legislature, has concerns about past affiliations.
“Bernie Sanders is not a Democrat,” Ourth points out. “He has at times cast aspersions upon the Democratic Party, the party I’ve worked for for 30 years … I like Bernie Sanders’ message and what he stands for, but I don’t like the fact that he is entering this race when he cast aside our party years ago.”
Ourth worked for Martin O’Malley back in 1986 in Maryland and still likes him, but believes “[Clinton’s] scope of experience is not matched by anyone else.”
“Politically speaking, and by someone who practices politics, I have to take a look at her organization and her fundraising abilities,” Ourth explains. “The Clinton organization is tried and true.”
“At the end of the day, I like her,” he adds. “I’m not going to get with somebody for all the practical reasons if I don’t believe in their principles and her values … What she says she wants to do are very similar to the things that I’d like to see done by our next chief executive.”
Ourth plans to start talking with his friends and neighbors locally to ensure the Clinton corner is packed on caucus night.
“Folks from all across the spectrum of interests [are with her], from environmental people to women’s rights people to rank-and-file Democrats who understand that it’s going to take a lot of horsepower, a lot of money, a well-defined message and the kind of energy that Mrs. Clinton has to win this thing,” Ourth says he sees in Warren County. “People in my county are coalescing behind her very, very well.”
by Pat Rynard