Which Democrat Has The Best Surrogate List? We List Them

Vilsack photo by Julie Fleming

From celebrities and athletes to spouses and friends, the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates have brought about everyone imaginable into Iowa in 2019 and 2020.

It’s a good way for the candidates to keep a presence when they themselves can’t be in Iowa, to rally their volunteers, or to boost the excitement at major rallies.

And it’s particularly important for the three senators still contesting Iowa (Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders and Amy Klobuchar) who are currently stuck in Washington, D.C., for the impeachment trial.

The senators are expected to be back in the state this weekend, but the trial has taken them out of the game in Iowa while two other front-runners, Biden and Buttigieg, continue to campaign here.

Advertise on Iowa Starting Line

According to Starting Line’s count, more than 50 surrogates have come to Iowa or are headed here soon to campaign on behalf of candidates this election cycle.

Here’s a list of the notable surrogates that have appeared with candidates in Iowa or will soon:

Joe Biden

  • Dr. Jill Biden – Dr. Biden has campaigned frequently in Iowa, with and without her husband, and promoted her husband’s education plans
  • Tom and Christie Vilsack – The Vilsacks joined the “No Malarkey” bus tour and have hosted several events around Iowa on behalf of Biden, often pitching his electability
  • Rep. Abby Finkenauer – Finkenauer, Iowa’s 1st District congresswoman, has made several appearances with Biden around the state after endorsing
  • Sec. John Kerry – Kerry has held his own lengthy bus tours in the state
  • Sen. Chris Coons – The junior senator from Delaware has hosted a potluck in Iowa for Biden
  • Sen. Tom Carper – The senior senator from Delaware attended the Webster County Democrats’ Porkchop Dinner and the Harry Hopkins fundraiser in Sioux City in September
  • Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms – Bottoms has come out to Iowa twice in support of Biden
  • IAFF President Harold Schaitberger – Schaitberger has been in Iowa several times to talk to local fire fighters about why the IAFF endorsed Biden
  • Former Sen. Chris Dodd – Dodd, of Connecticut, was scheduled to speak at the Ankeny Area Democrats Winter Banquet
  • LA Supervisor Hilda Solis – Solis hosted events in Muscatine and Davenport in November
  • Former Sen. Bob Kerrey – Kerrey, of Nebraska, was at the Newton office opening in November and came back to Iowa again in December
  • Amb. Michael Battle – Battle appeared at an office opening in Des Moines on Dec. 7
  • Khizr Khan – Khan helped at a phone bank in Cedar Rapids & hosted other events on Dec. 13
  • Michelle Kwan – Kwan has been to Iowa twice, once for a house party and ice skating in Des Moines in December and then again in Iowa City in January. She is also Biden’s national director of surrogates
  • Valerie Biden Owens – Owens was at events in Des Moines, Dallas Center and Granger Jan. 8
  • Rep. Ami Bera – Bera, of California, was in Davenport, Muscatine and Clinton during the “We Know Joe” bus tour in January
  • Rep. Emanuel Cleaver – Cleaver, of Missouri, was on the “We Know Joe” bus tour on Jan. 11 and 12
  • Rep. Lou Correa – Correa, of California, was on the “We Know Joe” bus tour in January
  • Rep. Conor Lamb – Lamb, of Pennsylvania, appeared at several stops with Biden this week
  • Rep. Chrissy Houlahan – Houlahan, of Pennsylvania, will be on the “We Know Joe” bus tour this weekend
  • Rep. Colin Allred – Allred, of Texas, will be on the “We Know Joe bus tour this weekend

Pete Buttigieg

  • Chasten Buttigieg – Chasten has held a couple of events in Iowa, including a meet-and-greet in Des Moines back in June
  • Kevin Costner – The actor known for his role in one of the most iconic movies ever set in Iowa, The Field of Dreams, came to Iowa to stump for Buttigieg just before Christmas
  • Ben Harper – The singer and songwriter performed at a party for Buttigieg before the Liberty and Justice Forum in downtown Des Moines in November
  • Mandy Moore – The singer and actress campaigned for Buttigieg in Ames in January
  • Rep. Dave Loebsack – Loebsack, of Iowa, has campaigned with Buttigieg at several events in southeast Iowa after endorsing him a couple of weeks ago
  • Reggie Love – The former special assistant to President Obama campaigned for Buttigieg in Cedar Rapids and Waterloo earlier this month
  • Mayor Steve Adler – Adler, of Austin, Texas, joined the “Mayors for Pete” campaign in eastern Iowa on Jan. 18
  • Mayor Christine Hunschofsky – Hunschofsky, of Parkland, Florida, was in Iowa during the “Mayors for Pete” events in eastern Iowa Jan. 18
  • Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird – Baird, of Lincoln, Nebraska, campaigned for Buttigieg during the “Mayors of Pete” events Jan. 18
  • Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt – Kleinschmidt, of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, campaigned for Buttigieg during the “Mayors for Pete” events
  • Steve Grossman – A former chairman of the Democratic National Committee, Grossman campaigned for Buttigieg in Iowa in early January
  • Rep. Don Beyer – Beyer, of Virginia, introduced Buttigieg at a town hall in Marshalltown in December
  • Pete Rimsans – The Executive Director at Indiana State Building and Construction Trades Council and Dubuque native, has spent some time with the Buttigieg campaign in southeast Iowa
  • Chris Cabaldon – The Mayor of West Sacramento was in Iowa stumping for Buttigieg in August of 2019
  • Rep. Anthony Brown – Buttigieg’s national campaign co-chair visited Council Bluffs and Harlan with the candidate earlier this week

Amy Klobuchar

  • John and Abigail Bessler – Klobuchar’s husband and daughter have joined several activities in Iowa, including Thanksgiving and the end of the 99-county tour. They are also in the state now
  • Rep. Angie Craig – Craig, of Minnesota, is one of several politicians from Minnesota advocating for Klobuchar while she’s in the Senate impeachment trial
  • Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz – joined Klobuchar’s husband at the Minnesota vs. Iowa football game earlier this year
  • Minnesota Lt. Gov Peggy Flanagan – Flanagan is expected to be in the state to campaign for Klobuchar soon
  • Rep. Dean Phillips – Phillips joined Abigail at a “Hotdish House Party” in Iowa City Jan. 22. More schedule details for Phillips are forthcoming
  • Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey – The mayor, who lives down the street from Klobuchar, visited Iowa in recent weeks
  • Phill Drobnick – Drobnick, a fellow Minnesotan and Olympic gold medal curling coach, will campaign for Klobuchar this week and join the Des Moines Curling Club at a practice
  • Julie Blaha – The Minnesota State Auditor spoke on behalf of Klobuchar at the Harry Hopkins fundraiser in Sioux City in September
  • Minnesota Legislators – Klobuchar has also had many Democratic legislators from Minnesota make the trip down for various Iowa events

Bernie Sanders

  • Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez – Cortez, of New York, has made trips to Iowa with Sanders already this election cycle, and she will be stumping for him this Friday at the University of Iowa, Saturday in Cedar Rapids and also in Ames
  • Jane Sanders – the candidate’s wife has made several trips to Iowa, including during big events like the State Fair
  • Rep. Rashida Tlaib – Tlaib, of Michigan, joined Sanders for a couple of events in eastern Iowa Jan. 11 and 12
  • Rep. Ro Khanna – Khanna, of California, on of Sanders’ early national co-chairs, has been to Iowa many times to campaign for Sanders. He hosted a couple of meet and greets in October, attended a weekend of action in November and was back again earlier this month.
  • Michael Moore – an Academy Award winning documentary filmmaker, Moore will join AOC on the swing through Iowa City, Cedar Rapids and Ames this weekend
  • Nina Turner – a top campaign staffer who is also well-known among Sanders’ volunteers has hosted several events for Sanders around Iowa
  • Phillip Agnew – the co-founder of Dream Defenders has made several trips to Iowa and will join Moore and Ocasio-Cortez in Iowa this weekend
  • Rep. Pramila Jayapal –  Jayapal, of Washington, visited Iowa on Sanders’ behalf this past week after endorsing him
  • Rep. Mark Pocan – The Wisconsin congressman is out on the trail for Sanders this weekend
  • Portugal. The Man – The band that wrote the Bernie Sanders-inspired song “Feel It Still” will headline several upcoming rallies
  • Mike Posner –  The singer-songwriter is on the trail with AOC, Moore and Agnew this week
  • Bon Iver – The band will hit the road in Iowa with Vampire Weekend next weekend
  • Vampire Weekend –  The punk rock band will be on tour with Bon Iver and promoting Sanders in Iowa next weekend

Elizabeth Warren

  • Julián and Joaquin Castro – The former presidential candidate and his brother have been campaigning for Warren all over Iowa for the last couple of weeks
  • Rep. Deb Haaland – Haaland, of New Mexico, campaigned for Warren in Sioux City and Council Bluffs in August and joined Warren in Iowa again last week
  • Rep. Katie Porter – Porter, of California, took a trip here in October and a couple of weeks ago for town halls and various parties
  • Rep. Ayanna Pressley – Pressley, of Massachusetts, tweeted on Tuesday she was “headed your way” to the @IAforWarren team, although details on that are yet to be released
  • Jonathan Van Ness – Van Ness, of “Queer Eye” fame, will be at a town hall meeting in Cedar Rapids Sunday
  • Bruce Mann – Warren’s husband has visited the state several times now, most recently before the January debate in Des Moines
  • Black Womxn For – An organization of black women, trans and gender non-conforming leaders, activists, artists and writers campaigned for Warren in Iowa on Jan. 11
  • Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson – Johnson campaigned for Warren in Iowa on Jan. 11 and he is expected to return to the state Saturday
  • Mayor Jim Kenney – Kenney, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, was in Iowa in December and made an appearance on Iowa Starting Line’s podcast
  • Maura Healey – The Massachussetts Attorney General spoke on behalf of Warren at the Harry Hopkins fundraiser in Sioux City in September

Andrew Yang

  • Dave Chapelle – Chapelle, a comedian, will be in Ames on Friday for a show
  • Marianne Williamson – The former presidential candidate will be in Fairfield for Yang on Friday
  • Cameron Kasky – Kasky, a gun control activist, held a town hall in support of Yang in Iowa City on Jan. 11
  • Evelyn Yang – Recently Yang has taken to accompanying her husband on the campaign trail in Iowa
  • Rivers Cuomo – The singer and songwriter played a set at Yangapalooza before the Liberty and Justice celebration in Des Moines


By Paige Godden
Posted 1/23/20

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