Meet The Republicans Caucusing For Elizabeth Warren

Photo by Julie Fleming

Standing in Elizabeth Warren’s corner on caucus night will be dozens of current or former Republicans and Donald Trump voters, and at least one former Ted Cruz precinct captain will be volunteering to bring out more.

The Warren campaign today is rolling out the public endorsements of over 40 Iowans who used to call the Republican Party their home. Sixteen of them, the campaign says, will be in precinct leadership roles for the campaign.

“Elizabeth Warren is building a coalition that will win this November because she’s fighting to level the playing field for all working families,” Judy Haynes, a former Republican from Manchester, Iowa, said. “She’s fighting to end corruption in Washington so our government works for the American people — not just the wealthy and well-connected. This former Republican is caucusing for Elizabeth on Feb. 3 because I want to live in the America she knows is possible.”

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Bringing Republicans out to the Democratic caucus certainly isn’t without precedent. Barack Obama’s large coalition of first-time caucus-goers in 2008 included a not insignificant number of Republicans. The final Des Moines Register Iowa Poll of 2008 showed Republicans making up 5% of the expected Democratic caucus electorate, which famously sent Hillary Clinton’s pollster into a tizzy (he ended up being wrong).

Warren is not the only candidate touting their potential crossover appeal, but she’s the one that perhaps the conventional political wisdom would think is least likely to pull it off.

Amy Klobuchar and Pete Buttigieg have pointed to their more moderate positions and Midwestern background that could appeal to moderate Republicans distrustful of most Democrats. Joe Biden argues his blue-collar upbringing has won over exactly the kind of voter that bolted the Democratic Party to back Trump in 2016. Tom Steyer thinks his business background will inoculate him against charges of “socialism.” And Bernie Sanders’ supporters highlight how his outsider persona strikes the same nerve with frustrated voters that Trump does.

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But Warren’s focus on anti-corruption measures may be under-appreciated in its potential appeal to Trump voters who believed in the man’s empty promises on “draining the swamp.” Distrust of the political system is a powerful motivator in American politics, and Warren’s platform emphasizes sweeping structural changes to lessen the influence of money in government.

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And there’s always simply the good reminder that not all voters fall into strict ideological buckets, so Warren’s progressive policy stances don’t necessarily shut the door on everyone who’s voted Republican in the past.

“Republicans, Democrats and independents alike can see that government today works great for those at the top, while leaving everyone else behind,” Warren said, in a statement. “I’m grateful to see Iowans from across the political spectrum joining our movement  — together, we can make the big, structural change we need.”

Warren’s large field team in Iowa has also allowed her campaign to reach out beyond the traditional caucus-going crowd, which can find you some receptive voters not on the usual campaign lists. One organizer found a Republican teacher who was open to Warren’s message.

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“She understands the financial issues,” said Republican farmer Ray Meylor, of Polk City in a video for the campaign. “She can write an easy-to-follow manuscript on how to fix this. Whether a single-parent family, or you’re a small town, or it’s a federal deficit issues — she understands those issues.”

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Here is the full list of current and former Republicans/Trump voters that are publicly endorsing Warren in the Iowa Caucus:

Bobby Adams, Council Bluffs
Kristi Adams, Marion
Seth Banwell, Newton
Mahlon Barker, Dallas Center
Warren Bell, Maquoketa
McKenzie Beyer, Slater
Kathy Blazek, Anita
Sharon Bourke, Crescent
Susan Bragga, Centerville
Deanne Bryce, Des Moines
Kenneth Choquette, Des Moines
Matt Drake, Dubuque
Brandon Ermels, Urbandale
Holly Gross, Villisca
Judy Haynes, Manchester
Scott Hoodjer, Clarksville
Nanette Horton, Muscatine
Bryan Hurd, Bettendorf
Mike Kaldenberg, Winterset
Debra Kellogg-Rummel, Oelwein
Karla Lair, Des Moines
Judy Lucas, Des Moines
Jan Manders, Durango
Barb McBreen, Cambridge
Raymond Meylor, Polk City
Benjamin Miler, Inwood
Melinda Millard, Jefferson
Teri Moroney, Council Bluffs
Kristin Netemeyer, Mason City
Mark Olson, Council Bluffs
Karen Pierson, Marion
Terri Potter, Preston
Sue Rohner, Greenfield
Linda Schmitt, Atlantic
Curtis Schroeder, Fort Dodge
Terry Trimpe, Hiawatha
Isaac Truckenbrod, Grinnell
Janice Whaley, Marion
Terry Whaley, Marion
Bryan White, Boone
Stephen Wiedner, Waukon
Vincent Wolfe, Grinnell
Gene Wubbels, Grinnell

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by Pat Rynard
Posted 1/13/20

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