Elizabeth Warren’s campaign is rolling out their first big batch of endorsers following last night’s Democratic debate. Fifteen well-known Iowa activists are publicly throwing their support behind Warren for the Iowa Caucus, hailing from cities and small towns alike.
Among the new endorsers are former state legislators Mark Kuhn of Charles City and Kurt Swaim of Bloomfield; city councilmembers Silvia Quezada of University Heights, Lauren Whitehead of Solon and Jose Zacarias of West Liberty; and some progressive business leaders like Zack Mannheimer and Veronica Tessler of Iowa City. Warren also has some local activists skilled at caucus organizing like Cindy Pollard and Gayla Snook of Newton.
Most are from Eastern Iowa, including six from Johnson County, the most Democratic county in the state and a key target for any campaign on caucus night.
Just about every name is one this Iowa reporter recognizes, many of whom are the types of local leaders who can help swing a precinct on caucus night.
While Warren has slowly released individual names of notable Iowa supporters, like Representative Liz Bennet and gun safety activist Amber Gustafson, this is their first big formal announcement of multiple endorsers. It comes the week before the Democratic field descends upon Iowa for the Polk County Democrats Steak Fry, the largest event yet of the caucus cycle yet. Every campaign will be looking to show off their organizational strength in the lead-off state to both caucus-goers and reporters.
The Warren campaign’s Iowa field operation got started the earliest of the major candidates this year, putting together a large ground game filled with experienced Iowa campaign operatives. That allowed them to build out local volunteer networks before most field staff for other campaigns got out to their turf in the late spring and summer.
Warren’s team has also invited undecided activists to countless informal informational meetings on their candidate throughout the state. In August, Starting Line stopped by one local gathering in Spencer, a town in a rural county in conservative Northwest Iowa, where about a dozen locals gathered at a coffee shop to simply discuss Warren’s policies and ask the local field organizer questions.
The campaign has mostly been content with building their caucus machine behind the scenes, letting word of mouth from Democratic Party leaders and activists tell the story of how well-organized Warren is in Iowa. As we get closer to the caucus, and as other candidates like Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg tout their field teams and endorsements, we may see more public signs.
Here’s the fifteen new Warren endorsers:
Mark Kuhn, former Iowa state representative, Charles City
Kurt Swaim, former Iowa state representative, Bloomfield
Silvia Quezada, city councilwoman, University Heights
Lauren Whitehead, city councilwoman, Solon
Jose Zacarias, former city councilman and school board member, West Liberty
Matt Tapscott, U.S. Marine Corps (ret.), Decorah
Dave Helman, former Henry County Democrats chair, Salem
Laura Twing, former Cedar County Democrats chair, Tipton
Julie Maddox, retired teacher and community activist, Dubuque
Vic Moss, community activist, Ames
Cindy Pollard, community activist, Newton
Gayla Snook, community activist, Newton
Mary Kate Hayek, community advocate, Iowa City
Zack Mannheimer, community placemaker, Iowa City
Veronica Tessler, small business owner, Iowa City
And here’s Warren’s previously-announced endorsers:
Berkley Bedell, former congressman, Spirit Lake
Liz Bennett, state representative, Cedar Rapids
Sandy Dockendorff, community activist, Danville
Amber Gustafson, gun safety advocate, Ankeny
Josh Hughes, school board member, New Virginia
Denise O’Brien, community activist, Atlantic
Isabella O’Connor, youth leader, Des Moines
Majda Olson, community activist, Cedar Rapids
Rod Sullivan, county supervisor, Iowa City
by Pat Rynard