Candidates’ Last Month In Iowa By The Numbers

By Nikoel Hytrek

January 24, 2020

In the final stretch before the Iowa caucus, candidates have to make January count.

Those still remaining in the race will have held well over 200 events in Iowa before the month is out. That’s even with the interruption of the Senate impeachment trial, which called three candidates, Sens. Amy Klobuchar, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, back to DC for an uncertain length of time. But even then, the senators unleashed their surrogates in the state to campaign alongside them and on their behalf.

Here’s the counts of days and events in Iowa from the candidates still seriously contesting the caucuses. These are events that have either already happened or are scheduled from the beginning of January through February 3, that have been made public in some manner as of Friday morning (additional events for next week will likely still be announced in the coming days).

Bernie Sanders

Days in the state: 12

Number of events: 24

As a senator, Sanders was held up in Washington, D.C. for the impeachment trial. Still, he made the most of what time he had in Iowa. At the beginning of the year, he was in the state for four days in a row and held 10 events in that time.

He spent most of his time in Central and Eastern Iowa with events as far north as Decorah, and finished the month with big-name endorsers and surrogates like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Michael Moore and musical acts. Sanders fit in a couple of rural Iowa stops, but those were mostly right next door to events in larger cities. He has a series of major college town rallies lined up for the final stretch.

[inline-ad id=”5″]

Elizabeth Warren

Days in the state: 10

Number of events: 17

Warren was in the same boat as Sanders with the impeachment trial, but she also managed to make a strong showing in Iowa, fitting 17 appearances in 10 days of travel. With her selfie lines and the guarantee every supporter will get a picture, her events tend to take longer, which probably explains her lower number of events. She hasn’t had a day where she held more than two public events.

As has been her strategy for the past few months, Warren stuck to the eastern side of the state, traveling to five blue-collar counties along the Mississippi River, going from Dubuque in the north to Burlington in the south. Outside of that, Warren held six events in Polk County. She also spends this weekend with a big-name surrogate, Jonathan Van Ness, one of the hosts of Netflix’s “Queer Eye,” in Cedar Rapids.

[inline-ad id=”2″]

Pete Buttigieg

Days in the state: 12

Number of events: 33

Buttigieg returned to Iowa later than most of his competitors, with his first event on the 12th. But once here, he rarely left, sometimes packing four events into one day.

He also had some geographic diversity, spending far more time in conservative Western Iowa than most of his competitors — 13 of his events were west of I-35. He also fit in a Southeast Iowa swing, hitting up Keokuk, Burlington, Fairfield, Mount Pleasant and Ottumwa. And Buttigieg traveled to most of the “ring counties” surrounding Des Moines.

[inline-ad id=”4″]

Joe Biden

Days in the state: 10

Number of events: 19

Biden started the new year in Iowa with 10 events in the first five days of January. In that time, he also focused on the eastern part of the state, holding nine of those ten events east of Des Moines.

When he again appeared in the state, on the 18th, he was in central Iowa, in part for the Brown and Black Forum in Des Moines on the 20th. He then moved north and held his last events in Mason City and Osage on the 22nd. Biden held about a 50/50 mix of urban and rural county visits.

[inline-ad id=”3″]

Amy Klobuchar

Days in the state: 10

Number of events: 23

Klobuchar is closing out with events in most of the urban centers in the state. This all comes after she completed her 99-county tour in December, which featured mostly rural counties.

Most of her time was devoted to Central Iowa in places like Des Moines and Ames. She will have held three events in the Des Moines suburbs: Clive, Johnston and Ankeny. Klobuchar was in the state pretty consistently throughout the month, but she had a few more events near the end. When she was here, she packed every day full of appearances. Her events sometimes run a little shorter than others.

[inline-ad id=”1″]

Andrew Yang

Days in the state: 21

Number of events: 58

Yang has embarked upon a 17-day bus tour across the state leading up to the caucus (though only 13 of those days’ events have been made public so far, so his event numbers will soon jump even higher). He’s doubled or tripled his competitors in the number of events he held, often packing four to seven events into one day.

He’s covered a lot of ground in that time, including in many rural places like Howard and Mitchell counties that others probably won’t get to again before caucus night. This large a tour will likely mean that Yang is the last candidate many Iowans outside of the urban areas see before going to their caucus.

So far, though Yang was all over the state, he hasn’t ventured west of Des Moines very often in this month.

[inline-ad id=”0″]

Tom Steyer

Days in the state: 16

Number of events: 34

Steyer has two long bus tours to close out his Iowa campaigning, one already at the beginning of the month and another “Final Sprint Bus Tour” from the 27th to caucus night. He didn’t shy away from doing multiple events in Northwest Iowa, including locations like Spirit Lake and Sheldon, and overall his events were pretty spread out geographically throughout the state.

The first bus tour visited many more rural counties; the last tour focuses on the urban centers and mid-sized, blue-collar towns in eastern Iowa.


John Delaney

Days in the state: 15

Number of events: 40

Delaney spent about half of his January in Iowa, and he largely focused on smaller towns all over the state. He had events in places like Doon, Hawarden and Cumberland, towns with populations mostly under 500 people. Part of that appears to be a strategy to hit viability in smaller, rural precincts where a smaller group of caucus-goers can get you a delegate.


by Nikoel Hytrek
Posted 1/24/20

  • Nikoel Hytrek

    Nikoel Hytrek is Iowa Starting Line’s longest-serving reporter. She covers LGBTQ issues, abortion rights and all topics of interest to Iowans. Her biggest goal is to help connect the dots between policy and people’s real lives. If you have story ideas or tips, send them over to [email protected].



Local News

Related Stories
Share This