Senator Amy Klobuchar had a good week following her performance on Tuesday’s debate stage.
She raised more than $1.5 million in just 36 hours — in comparison to the $4.8 million she raised all of the third quarter — and her team collected a record amount of commit to caucus cards Friday.
Klobuchar revealed two big Iowa endorsements in Cedar Rapids at the start of her three-day Iowa bus tour this weekend. State legislators Liz Mathis and Andy McKean both endorsed Klobuchar, who already has more endorsements from current and former state legislators than any other presidential candidate in Iowa.
“We had big crowds in Waterloo and Mason City,” Klobuchar said Saturday evening. “We’re excited about that. The $1.5 million coming in has really boosted everyone’s spirits because it’s going to help us get more ad time and be able to make sure we have more buses and staff.”
Klobuchar had already met the monetary requirements to participate in the November debate, but she’s still waiting to hit the 3 percent mark in a few more polls to qualify for the stage. She already has one qualifying poll.
The Minnesota Senator said taking the national debate stage last Tuesday was a good opportunity to explain who she is, why she’s different from other candidates and why she can win in the middle of the country.
As if Klobuchar, who wrote in her book that she made the decision to run for Senate while sitting in an ice shack and who sometimes drinks purple beer with Vikings fans in the middle of her bus tour, doesn’t have enough Midwestern creds — she pitched plans that will have a direct impact on rural Iowans while speaking Saturday evening.
On this trip, she laid out a plan to have a rural broadband system up and running by 2022, which will ensure every town has access to high-speed internet. She also talked about her plan to keep rural hospitals open, and her plan to help grow the workforce in rural America.
While in Panora on Saturday night, Klobuchar pitched a plan to help a fellow Democrat, Guthrie County Sheriff Marty Arganbright.
Arganbright blames overcrowding at his jail on the lack of places in Iowa people with mental health and substance abuse issues can go to seek treatment.
“Our jail is full all the time. It never gets empty,” Arganbright said. “One of the biggest problems we have is a mental health problem, that the Republicans took away all the places, all the facilities, that these people could go to get help.”
The seriousness of the issue came to a head this week when all three of Arganbright’s night deputies were injured in an officer-involved shooting when they attempted to serve an arrest warrant to Randall Comly, who has been convicted of at least five felony drug charges over the last 18 years.
Arganbright has said in the past there are more than 100 outstanding arrest warrants in Guthrie County because they don’t have anywhere to hold the criminals should the warrants be executed.
Klobuchar has a plan for that.
“There are only 64 public mental health beds in the entire state of Iowa,” Klobuchar said. “We went from a state system to a community-based system, which was a good idea, but then we didn’t really have a plan to deal with it.
“So what I have is paid for actually, by the opioid settlements, which will go to both addiction and to mental health,” she said. “And there’s going to be a federal master settlement — two cents per gram on opioids — which brings in a lot of money, and closing the hedge fund loophole. That’s $100 billion, and that’s a conservative estimate from those sources.”
Klobuchar was careful to spell out how she’ll pay for each of her plans during the last week, which is what she attempted to get fellow Democrat Elizabeth Warren to do on the debate stage Tuesday.
“The difference between a plan and a pipe dream is something that you can actually get done,” Klobuchar told Warren, who supports free college for all and Medicare for All plans, on the debate stage.
While the debate seems to have produced largely good things for Klobuchar and her campaign, social media users mocked the debate moderator’s question on who each candidate had as an unlikely friend.
Klobuchar mentioned Senator John McCain.
“I remember being there at his ranch. [My husband John Bessler] and I went to visit him and Cindy when he was dying, and he pointed to some words in his book because he could hardly talk,” she said. “The words said this, ‘There is nothing more liberating in life than fighting for a cause larger than yourself.'”
Others may have found the question silly, but Klobuchar said: “I actually didn’t.
“I thought you could take the question however you wanted or which way you wanted. Some people answered it quickly and went on,” Klobuchar said. “I didn’t, because I think we are living in such a divisive time people want to know how you can work with people even if you don’t agree with them.”
by Paige Godden