2020 Iowa Caucuses

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Some Democratic presidential candidates are knocking the party for excluding them from debates later this month. The events pose a prime opportunity for lesser-known contenders to build a national profile, standing on the same stage as candidates currently leading in the polls.

joe biden
Katarina Sostaric / IPR

Former Vice President Joe Biden campaigned in Iowa Tuesday to run against President Trump, who was also in the state for a fundraiser.

At his first campaign stop of the day in Ottumwa, Biden called President Trump an “existential threat” to America and the country’s core values. He criticized Trump for policies he said are hurting farmers.

John Pemble / IPR

Nineteen of the Democratic presidential candidates gave speeches at one event in Cedar Rapids Sunday.  The candidates mostly took to bashing President Donald Trump, but there were subtle jabs at the front-runner.

The candidates just got five minutes each to speak. The most notable absence from the lineup was Joe Biden, the current frontrunner in the latest Des Moines Register/Mediacom/CNN Iowa Poll published over the weekend. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York made a swipe at the former vice president regarding abortion.

Iowa Public Radio

Every four years, national media outlets converge on Iowa to follow politicians as they adventure through the state ahead of the Iowa caucuses. 

Candidates and their handlers drop into diners, coffee shops, Casey's General Stores, and Pizza Ranches as they shake hands and meet caucus-goers. Wannabe presidential hopefuls can be seen eating food on a stick and sipping beer at the Iowa State Fair, turning their visits to Iowa into a competition for votes, a contest in Caucus Land.

Katie Peikes / IPR file

The flood-damaged home of Fran and Jason Parr in Mills County has caught the interest of quite a few Democratic presidential candidates as they campaign in Iowa ahead of the 2020 caucuses.

New York City mayor Bill de Blasio, speaks to protestors outside a McDonald's in Des Moines. The Democratic presidential candidate said he supports making $15-per-hour the national minimum wage.
Grant Gerlock / IPR

Workers and union supporters were joined by New York City mayor and Democratic presidential candidate Bill de Blasio at a protest in front of a Des Moines McDonald's.

Kate Payne/IPR

Iowa State Representative Andy McKean of Anamosa says he’s seen an outpouring of support, and some criticism, since he left the Republican Party for the Democrats in April. Once the longest serving Republican in the Iowa Statehouse, McKean says he doesn’t regret his decision.

Katie Peikes / IPR

More than two months after the Missouri River and its tributaries flooded western Iowa, many people in southwest Iowa are still out of their homes. Former Maryland Congressman and Democratic presidential candidate John Delaney toured a flood-damaged home on Tuesday and is touting policies to deal with climate change.

Steve Bullock unsuccessfully defended the state's campaign finance law at the U.S. Supreme Court as the state's attorney general. But as governor, he signed one of the nation's strongest campaign transparency laws.
Grant Gerlock / IPR

In his first stop in Iowa to campaign for the Democratic nomination for president, two-term Montana governor Steve Bullock highlighted bipartisan achievements that he said set him up to connect with swing-state voters.

Katie Peikes / IPR

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders wrapped up his latest presidential campaign swing across Iowa on Sunday. He rallied a few hundred voters in Sioux City.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) brought her presidential campaign back to Iowa.
Amy Mayer / IPR

Democratic presidential candidate and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren is back in Iowa and hoping her policy proposals will resonate across the purple landscape.

AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Former Vice President Joe Biden is visiting Iowa less than a week after making his 2020 presidential candidacy official, and Attorney General William Barr is testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee to answer questions about special counsel Robert Mueller's report on Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election. River to River host Ben Kieffer talks about these and other political developments of the week.

Guests include:

Kate Payne

Former Vice President Joe Biden is on a swing through Iowa this week just days after officially launching his bid for the White House.

Grant Gerlock/IPR

Many Democratic presidential candidates have offered their reaction to Thursday’s release with redactions of the Mueller report investigating Russian involvement in the 2016 election. 

Campaigning in Des Moines, Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota said she feels the special counsel should testify before Congress.

“The most important thing is that Bob Mueller come before Congress so that we can get to the bottom of why there’s this difference between his interpretation of the law and the Attorney General of the United States,” Klobuchar said.

Charlie Neibergall

After more than a dozen years in Congress, Rep. Dave Loebsack has announced his retirement.

Grant Gerlock / IPR

Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg said at a Des Moines rally Tuesday night that his party needs to spend more time talking about issues where Republicans have traditionally controlled the message.

Katie Peikes / IPR

On a campaign swing through western Iowa Tuesday, Democratic presidential candidate Cory Booker met with students and teachers in Sergeant Bluff. Booker said he wants to prioritize public and special needs education.

Clare Roth / IPR file

The announcement that long-time 2nd District Congressman Dave Loebsack is retiring is opening up a race in a district thought to be reliably Democratic. But with the seven term representative's departure, some politicos say that may not remain the case.

Kate Payne / IPR

Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris outlined a plan to raise teachers’ pay across the country during an event in Iowa City on Wednesday night. The U.S. Senator from California also called for addressing wealth inequality more broadly.

Kate Payne / IPR

A new restaurant will help keep a historic building open in one Iowa small town, after a well-loved bistro closed down earlier this year.

Damon Dahlen//HuffPost

Over the weekend, several Democrats running for president in 2020 visited Storm Lake to participate in a discussion of rural issues called "The Heartland Forum".

Clay Masters / IPR

Former Texas Congressman and latest 2020 presidential contender Beto O'Rourke spent his first days on the campaign trail driving himself in a rented minivan across 13 Iowa counties.

In this “politics day” edition of River to River, Ben Kieffer talks with political analysts, Rachel Caufield of Drake University and Wayne Moyer of Grinnell College, about O’Rourke’s appeal.

Kate Payne / IPR

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand D-NY is laying out aggressive stances on a slate of progressive issues as she introduces herself to Iowans on her first swing through the state after officially announcing her candidacy this past weekend. 

Clay Masters / IPR

Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke started his bid for the White House campaigning in Keokuk on Thursday. And continued his swing through the state with multiple stops on Friday.

The former Texas congressman is linking the terrorist attack at two New Zealand mosques that left 49 people dead to President Donald Trump’s rhetoric. 

On the road between campaign stops Friday, O’Rourke said the United States should not only offer compassion to the survivors and to those who lost loved ones in the terrorist attack, but also be a leader in calling out Islamophobia. 

Campaign Facebook Profiles

Many Democrats running for president have been spending time in the Waterloo-Cedar Falls area over the last number of weeks. It’s because of a special state senate election. Jeff Danielson, a Democrat, left his senate seat abruptly last month and Governor Kim Reynolds set the special election for this coming Tuesday, March 19th.  Presidential hopefuls Beto O’Rourke, a former Texas congressman, and Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar will be knocking doors for the Democrat, Eric Giddens. He's running against Republican Walt Rogers. 

Clay Masters / IPR

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders finished his first swing through Iowa Saturday as an official Democratic presidential candidate. Instead of small and more intimate venues, the campaign held three rallies over the course of three days in the state which kicks off the presidential nominating process.

Sanders, an independent senator who caucuses with Democrats, told the crowd he thinks he has a good chance of winning the Democratic nomination in 2020. But he says he will strongly support whoever gets the nomination.

Clay Masters/IPR

The governor of Washington made his first swing through Iowa Tuesday. It’s his first trip to the first-in-the-nation caucus state since becoming an official Democratic presidential candidate. Gov. Jay Inslee has made combatting climate change the focus of his campaign.

During his trip he toured an electrical contracting company in Cedar Rapids that focuses on solar power and met with students at Iowa State University. He finished with a private event at a law firm in West Des Moines.

Clay Masters / Iowa Public Radio

Two governors who have hinted at making a run for president next year spent Monday in Iowa, which kicks off the presidential nominating process. Republican Larry Hogan of Maryland and Democrat Steve Bullock of Montana were attending a conference of the National Governor’s Association in Des Moines.

Hogan has been critical of President Donald Trump and has not ruled out running against him in 2020.

“I don’t know that I do want to be president,” Hogan told reporters. “But I do think governors are much more prepared to be president.”

Kate Payne / IPR

On a swing through Iowa this weekend, Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren faced some questions about how she would unite the party. Some voters are concerned about infighting among the growing field of contenders.

Katie Peikes/IPR

Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro has been meeting with voters around Iowa this week.  He’s among those seeking the Democratic nomination for president in 2020.