The commit-to-caucus cards starting piling up at Pete Buttigieg events across northern Iowa this past week, as caucus-goers saw the candidate at very well-attended events in rural counties. Now, a few days after his bus tour and performance at the Liberty and Justice Dinner, Buttigieg has a long list of new endorsements from across Iowa.
Local elected officials, faith leaders, former party leaders and several Iowans from the counties Buttigieg just visited round out the collection of 28 Iowans backing the South Bend mayor. They’re also from all areas of the state, with a large contingent of leaders from rural counties.
It builds on the momentum their campaign looks to project coming off the LJ Dinner, where the Buttigieg campaign filled the arena with the most supporters of any White House hopeful. Buttigieg’s event turnouts in places like Algona and Spencer on Monday drew comparisons from local Democrats to Barack Obama’s large crowd sizes in the final stretch of the 2008 Iowa Caucus.
Story County Supervisor Linda Murken is one of eight local electeds endorsing Buttigieg today.
“As a mayor, Pete has been there when tough decisions needed to be made — not as one member of many in a legislature voting on a bill, but as the one to whom problems come for final decisions,” Murken said in a press release. “His leadership experience in local government and the military will serve him well as our President.”
Other county and city officials include Daryn Hamilton, Jefferson County Supervisor; Jim Fulton, Decatur County Supervisor; Jessica Reynolds, Story County Attorney; Debra Kaldenberg, Winterset City Council Member; Kyle McGlade, Council Bluffs School Board Member; Rodney Drenkow, Waverly City Council Member; and Sue Cahill, Marshalltown City Council Member.
One rather noteworthy name is Nate Monson, the executive director of Iowa Safe Schools, one of the largest LGBTQ organizations in the state (it’s a personal endorsement, not one from the organization). He has one of the largest personal statewide networks of young LGBTQ activists from all corners of the state, given his group’s years of work with high schools Gay Straight Alliances.
Monson’s father also happened to attend the Buttigieg event in Algona, noting he’d plan to caucus for the first time ever this year for the Mayor.
This is 63-year Jim Monson, a self-described independent. He plans to caucus for the first time for @PeteButtigieg in February. “We need someone smart in the office,” he told me. “Let’s try it that way this time.” pic.twitter.com/hsUl8u0sUg
— Adam Wren (@adamwren) November 4, 2019
In Western Iowa, Buttigieg has landed the backing of Tim Bottaro, a former Woodbury County Democrats chair, a sought-after activist in the largest county west of I-35. He also is receiving the support of former legislators Daryl Beall of Fort Dodge, who was volunteering at Buttigieg’s Algona event, and Tom Fey, a former member of the Iowa House from Ames.
There’s many more current and former county party leaders now with Buttigieg, many from rural areas. Among them are Cal Whisler, Chair of Monroe County Democrats; Dennis Cole, former Chair of Page County Democrats (he just wrote this Starting Line op-ed); and Gary Schmidt, former Chair of Ankeny Area Democrats.
“Pete’s charisma and pure leadership is admirable and what we need as a president,” Whisler said. “His health care plan is key for me making my decision. Offering great, affordable plans to the public, and if someone wants to keep their private or union-mandated insurance, they’re allowed to.”
Yesterday’s Quinnipiac poll, which had Buttigieg at second place in Iowa overall, showed the Mayor leading the field among rural voters. Given the way delegates are allocated in the Iowa Caucus, strong showings in rural areas are important since there’s less of an ability for candidates to rack up big margins in urban areas with huge turnout.
One major aspect of Buttigieg’s candidacy has been his emphasis on faith and a willingness to talk about his own on the campaign trail. That seems to have won over some Iowa religious leaders.
Among his new endorsers are Reverend Laura Wright, Decorah; Reverend John Syvertson, Spencer; Pastor Michele Mead, Johnston; Reverend Jay Thornton, Pella; Reverend Richard Hendricks, Davenport; and Reverend Gregory Steckel, Iowa City. Both Decorah and Spencer were stops on Buttigieg’s recent bus tour.
“Pete Buttigieg is the ideal candidate to take us from these dark times into a new era of civility combined with bold ideas to make our democracy work for everyone,” Hendricks of Davenport said.
This phase in the Iowa Caucus is an important one to watch for which campaigns are still adding to their endorsement lists. Buttigieg’s haul seems to show that the increasing attention and turnouts at his events aren’t just momentary interest in a surging candidate, but real, locked-in support for caucus night.
The full list of endorsers is as follows:
Linda Murken, Story County Supervisor
Cal Whisler, Chair of Monroe County Democrats
Polly Denison, Former Candidate for Iowa House District 75
Nate Monson, Executive Director of Safe Schools Iowa
Daryn Hamilton, Jefferson County Supervisor
Jim Fulton, Decatur County Supervisor
Jessica Reynolds, Story County Attorney
Daryl Beall, former Iowa State Senator, Webster County
Debra Kaldenberg, Winterset City Council Member
Myrt Bowers, 2019 Linn County Democrats Hall of Fame Inductee
Tim Bottaro, former Chair of Woodbury County Democrats
Denise Essman, President, Essman Associates
Tom Fey, former Iowa State Representative in Scott County
Pat Boddy, former Executive Director of Polk County Conservation Commission
Dennis Cole, former Chair of Page County Democrats
Gary Schmidt, former Chair of Ankeny Area Democrats
Kyle McGlade, Council Bluffs School Board Member
Rodney Drenkow, Waverly City Council Member
Sue Cahill, Marshalltown City Council Member
Margi Weiss, former finance director at the Iowa Democratic Party
Graham Gillette, Des Moines Water Works Board member, precinct captain for Senator Barack Obama 2008
Katie Gillette, former White House employee, President George H.W. Bush
Reverend Laura Wright, Decorah, IA
Reverend John Syvertson, Spencer, IA
Pastor Michele Mead, Johnston, IA
Reverend Jay Thornton, Pella, IA
Reverend Richard Hendricks, Davenport, IA
Reverend Gregory Steckel, Iowa City, IA
by Pat Rynard