Democratic 3rd District candidate Pete D’Alessandro has a big guest coming in to campaign for him later this month: Senator Bernie Sanders will hold a rally with D’Alessandro on February 23. It will be the biggest surrogate of the cycle to come in specifically for a congressional or statewide candidate, and should give D’Alessandro, who worked as a top adviser to Sanders’ Iowa Caucus run, a large boost of publicity and organizational support in the highly-competitive primary.
With six Democrats running in the 3rd District for a chance to take on incumbent Republican David Young in the Des Moines-based swing seat, every candidate needs their niche of support to at least have a chance of victory. D’Alessandro has heavily courted the network of Sanders-supporting activists that were mobilized by that caucus campaign. They could be particularly useful in the likely event that the nomination for the 3rd District goes to convention if no candidate gets 35% in the primary.
Sanders’ visit will also serve as an interesting test of the lasting power of the Vermont senator’s movement in Iowa. A sizable core group of Sanders volunteers and far-left activists remain active in politics, but Sanders also a brought a lot of otherwise-disengaged voters into the process. It’s harder to do that when you’re a candidate not running for president and your face isn’t on TV every day. The big question will be whether Sanders can get a lot of those same voters interested in turning out for congressional and down-ballot races for ideologically similar candidates.
Sanders himself has only endorsed a select few group of congressional candidates for 2018, so this campaign rally stop for D’Alessandro signals it’s at the top of national progressive groups’ priority list. Our Revolution and National Nurses United have also backed D’Alessandro.
It’s also one more in a recent series of visits by national politicians who may run (or are running) for president in 2020. John Delaney, who has already announced his presidential campaign, toured the eastern part of the state a week and a half ago. Jason Kander made two recent appearances in Des Moines, Ottumwa and Iowa City. Martin O’Malley is in Des Moines today to talk about water quality – he stumped for a state house candidate last night.
The Sanders rally for D’Alessandro will be held at noon on Friday, February 23 at Curate, a brand new event hall in the East Village. The address is 322 E Court Ave. You can RSVP for the event at D’Alessandro’s campaign website here.
by Pat Rynard