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Sen. Cory Booker Makes Iowa Debut

Clay Masters
Iowa Public Radio
Sen. Cory Booker (D-New Jersey) addresses a crowd at the Iowa Democratic Party's annunal fall fundraiser.

Sen. Cory Booker, D-NJ,  flew to Iowa to headline a Democratic fundraiser Saturday night fresh off the Senate’s vote to confirm Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Sen. Booker, who serves on the Senate judiciary committee, says the process for confirming Kavanuagh was a sham. The senator is seen as a potential contender for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020. Iowa is the leadoff state in the nominating process. But Booker focused on the midterm, telling the crowd not to be discouraged by any of the president’s actions.

“It is not a time to give up! It’s a time to get up! To rise up! To speak up! It’s time for you not to wait for hope but to be the hope,” Boooker said to the crowd.

When asked by reporters if he’s running for his party’s presidential nomination, Booker said he was in the state because it could flip more elected offices to Democrats in the midterm. That includes three of Iowa’s four congressional seats and the governor’s office.

Sen. Booker made his comments as the keynote speaker during the Iowa Democrats’ annual fall fundraising dinner in Des Moines.

Speakers included Democratic candidates for congress Abby Finkenauer and Cindy Axne as well as gubernatorial candidate Fred Hubbell.

“I am running to change the direction of our state,” Hubbell said. “I’m not a politician. Never have been. But I do have the leadership experience to bring people together and get results.”

Hubbell said he will begin reversing the privatization of Medicaid on day one and restore funding to Planned Parenthood if he’s elected governor. 

He faces Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds in their first debate on Wednesday.

Early voting in Iowa starts Monday.

Clay Masters is the senior politics reporter for MPR News.