As polls show the presidential race in Iowa looking much closer than the 2016 election, the Iowa Democratic Party is announcing that their party’s presumptive nominee will headline their major summer fundraiser. Former Vice President Joe Biden will address Iowa Democrats at the party’s Hall of Fame celebration, held this year online on July 26 at 5 p.m.
Biden’s appearance will come a few weeks before the national convention in mid-August, and signals that the campaign is still taking Iowa seriously as a swing state for 2020. A Des Moines Register/Mediacom poll last week found that President Donald Trump only led Biden by one point in Iowa, 44% to 43%.
Where Iowa falls on the national battleground map has been up for debate since Trump’s 9-point win here in 2016 over Hillary Clinton. Even as it appears to return to its purple-state status, Iowa likely won’t be the tipping point in who wins the electoral college, though it’s always good to have backup options if Democrats’ path to victory ends up running exclusively through the Midwest.
But the state is crucial for a Democratic Senate majority and to maintain the party’s hold on the U.S. House. Sen. Joni Ernst’s reelection effort looks increasingly at risk as the same Register poll showed her down three points to Democratic businesswoman Theresa Greenfield. And Democrats flipped two Republican-held House seats in 2018, now representing three of the state’s four districts.
A serious investment from the Biden campaign in Iowa would pressure Trump into defending a state once solidly in his corner and be very beneficial to down-ballot candidates, especially one like Rep. Abby Finkenauer, whose blue-collar district in Eastern Iowa is filled with the kind of voters that Biden has traditionally appealed to.
“Iowa Democrats are honored to have Vice President Joe Biden join us in celebrating the grassroots work and energy that’s going to turn our state blue in November,” said IDP Chair Mark Smith. “Our work to elect Democrats up-down-the ticket has never been more important. The Hall of Fame is a great opportunity for us to celebrate our progress and recommit to the fight for our values. Democrats in all 99 counties are fired up and ready to send Joe Biden to the White House and restore dignity and morality to the highest office in the land.”
The state party’s main summer fundraiser has been a major national event in many past years. Nineteen of the Democratic presidential candidates attended last year’s event. The event, often heavily covered by national reporters, could be a chance for Biden to lay out his contrast for voters in former Trump states like Iowa, where the administration’s trade and energy policies have hurt rural America.
His appearance also comes right around when some political watchers think Biden may make a final decision on his vice presidential nominee, which could add some extra intrigue to the evening.
The Hall of Fame dinner is also a chance for the party to highlight some of its best activists and elected officials. Those honored this year will be released at a later date.
Tickets can be found here.
by Pat Rynard
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