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Klobuchar Touts Campaign's 'Total Surge' Since December Democratic Presidential Debate

Katie Peikes
Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar said she's gained momentum following the December Democratic presidential debate.

Democratic presidential candidate and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar is touting a surge in her campaign, about a month ahead of the Iowa caucuses. She returned to Iowa less than a week after completing visits to all of Iowa's 99 counties.
Klobuchar was one of seven Democratic presidential candidates to make the debate stage last month. At a town hall Thursday in Sioux City, she told the crowd the fundraising momentum after the debate has been big, raising more than $1 million in donations within 24 hours following the debate.

“We’re seeing a total surge that’s allowed us to double our staff in the state of Iowa and double our field offices,” Klobuchar said. “And it’s allowed us to do that in the other early states as well. We’re adding people in South Carolina and in Nevada, as well as New Hampshire.”

During her town hall, Klobuchar talked about wanting to put a cap on pharmaceutical prices, health care challenges and the need to accommodate seniors, and immigration reform. She answered questions submitted by voters, including one from a man from Hinton, who asked how she would flip back counties that voted for President Barack Obama in 2012 and President Donald Trump in 2016. Klobuchar said that happens by visiting small rural towns where it’s sometimes “uncomfortable.” She mentioned her visit to Cherokee in northwest Iowa last month where she saw the local planetarium, and an experience years ago in Minnesota, where she toured a big truck that uses heat to kill bed bugs.

“When you do things like that, you start understanding the rural economy in a whole different way,” Klobuchar said. “You understand that one size doesn’t fit all, that education’s different, that you need to have hospitals and health cares that are different. That’s why we have critical access hospitals in rural Iowa, that child care needs are different.” 

Klobuchar told media after the town hall that she’ll continue to ride her post-debate momentum.

“I’ve always had less money than some of my opponents,” she said, “and it doesn’t matter as much when people can meet you and they can make decisions."

“I’m going to just keep hitting on this message that people that grow up in Iowa should be able to live here, that we’ve got to make sure people understand that a rural economy is different than a big urban area, and that I’m someone that wants to bring people together.”

Some voters who came to the town hall said they’re still deciding who they’ll caucus for, but Klobuchar is on their list. Grace Kiple of Sergeant Bluff says she thinks she’ll caucus for Klobuchar.

“Her resume is very extensive and she’s proven that she can get things done,” Kiple said. “It’s not just plans, but she’s proven that she can execute them.”

Klobuchar visited Sioux City, Ankeny and Johnston on Thursday. She plans to stop in Waterloo and Cedar Rapids on Friday.

Katie Peikes was a reporter for Iowa Public Radio from 2018 to 2023. She joined IPR as its first-ever Western Iowa reporter, and then served as the agricultural reporter.