2020 Iowa Caucuses

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The Democratic National Committee is recommending that Iowa scrap its plans for telephone-based virtual caucuses next year, citing security concerns. The DNC had asked the state party to make Iowa’s first-in-the-nation caucuses more accessible following the 2016 election. 

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New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand has dropped out of the 2020 Democratic presidential race after failing to qualify for the third round of debates.

Gillibrand struggled to boost her polling and fundraising numbers despite her experience in the U.S. House and Senate.

Clay Masters/IPR file

The Iowa Democratic Party is still waiting for national party officials to approve its plan for launching virtual caucuses in late January 2020, a new option for voters who can’t, or don’t want to, caucus in person.

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Fifteen presidential candidates expressed their support for organized labor at a union leader conference this past week in Altoona. Iowa Public Radio state government reporter Katrina Sostaric says the Democratic presidential hopefuls are trying to regain ground with union member voters after Hillary Clinton won union households in 2016 by the smallest margin in the past three decades.

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Massachusetts Congressman Seth Moulton is calling off his campaign for the presidency. He’s the second major presidential candidate to drop out this week, after Washington Governor Jay Inslee, who bowed out Wednesday night.

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President Donald Trump expressed support for background checks in the days following two mass shootings in Texas and Ohio and then appeared to walk back those statements this week. Did a meeting with NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre change his mind? The President says no, clarifying that he still wants to "close loopholes," in the background check system.

The Iowa State Fair has become a must-stop for presidential campaigns ahead of the Caucuses. Candidates eat fried food on a stick and try to chat with voters through the swarm of cameras. We’ll take you through the crowds to see what the fair actually does for wannabe presidents.


bernie sanders
Katarina Sostaric / IPR

Fifteen Democrats running for president talked up their support for organized labor at an annual meeting of union leaders near Des Moines Wednesday.

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The final presidential candidate to speak at the Iowa State Fair says it won’t be easy to defeat President Donald Trump in 2020.  Massachusetts Democratic U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton said Democrats will need a remarkably diverse coalition behind the eventual nominee.

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Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper has dropped out of the race for the White House. Hickenlooper had been struggling to break through in the crowded field of some two dozen contenders and was unlikely to qualify for the upcoming third round of debates. He ended his campaign amid calls for him to instead run for the U.S. Senate.

New York City mayer Bill de Blasio speaks at the Iowa State Fair.
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New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said Democrats need to put forward a vision that voters can be passionate about in order to bring voters off of the sidelines in the 2020 presidential election. The candidate for the Democratic nomination spoke to voters at the Iowa State Fair Sunday and cautioned that taking a moderate approach against President Donald Trump could hurt turnout.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks at the Des Moines Register's Political Soapbox at the Iowa State Fair.
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Democrat Bernie Sanders laid out many of his familiar policy proposals at the Iowa State Fair Sunday. But this time he said his ideas are no longer on the political fringes, as they may have seemed to many voters when he campaigned four years-ago.

Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bennet addresses a crowd at the Iowa State Fair.
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Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet says the nation’s politics were “immobilized” by partisanship before Donald Trump was elected president. The Democratic candidate for president told voters at the Des Moines Register’s Political Soapbox at the Iowa State Fair that he would bridge the divide by taking steps to rein in the influence of money in American politics.

Bennet said he would look to overturn the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, reform the redistricting system to eliminate political gerrymandering and place a lifetime ban on members of Congress becoming lobbyists.

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Democratic billionaire Tom Steyer of California has big plans for his first day as president.

“I will declare a state of emergency on day one,” he said, referring to the need to take on the effects of climate change. “We are faced with something that will affect the health and safety of every single American, and every single American in the future.”

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One Republican joined more than a dozen Democratic presidential candidates in speaking at the Iowa State Fair this weekend.  Former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld took his 20 minutes of time at the Des Moines Register’s Political Soapbox, and said he’s running for president because he’s troubled by Donald Trump’s presidency, and thinks Trump is a Republican in name only.

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Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper touted his executive experience at a speech at the Iowa State Fair Saturday. Hickenlooper, who also served as mayor of Denver, told an audience of fair attendees and potential Iowa caucus-goers that he has a proven list of accomplishments that other competitors in the crowded field can’t claim.

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New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand says she has approached her life with the motto that nothing is impossible, a lesson taught to her by her grandmother. She is taking that into the 2020 presidential race.

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Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren drew a big crowd to hear her signature message of structural economic reform at the Iowa State Fair Saturday. The attendance at Warren’s stop at the Des Moines Register’s Political Soapbox surpassed that of the race’s frontrunner, former Vice President Joe Biden.

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Retired Navy Admiral and former Pennsylvania Congressman Joe Sestak says there is "nothing we can do by ourselves." He is prioritizing convening the world and banding allies together, and is running to "restore leadership."

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Katarina Sostaric / IPR

Sixteen Democrats running for president took questions about gun policies at a forum in Des Moines Saturday that was organized a few days earlier in response to recent mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton.

Hundreds of gun control activists from across the country attended the forum. Gunshot survivors and family members of victims told their stories to candidates and asked them how they would reduce gun violence.

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Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar says the 2020 presidential race needs a candidate from the Midwest, the heartland of the country, who can look out for rural America.

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U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio says the country needs to move beyond political discussions that focus on left vs. right, and work toward making the United States new and better.

Ryan told a crowd at the Des Moines Register’s Political Soap Box at the State Fair that, in his administration, that transformation would include the appointment of a chief manufacturing officer.  That person would help develop strategies on how the U.S. can dominate industries, like building the cars of the future.

John Pemble / IPR

Democratic presidential campaigns are swarming Iowa this weekend, including stops at the Iowa State Fair. In addition to their standard stump speeches, many of the candidates are using their time in Iowa to talk about their plans to address gun control following last week’s mass shootings in Texas and Ohio.

California Sen. Kamala Harris says if she’s elected president she’s prepared to take executive action to pass gun control policies if Congress doesn’t act. She made those comments at the Des Moines Register Political soapbox before a large crowd of fairgoers.

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Washington Gov. Jay Inslee says if climate change can’t be defeated, everything else is moot.  Inslee spoke Saturday at the Des Moines Register’s Political Soapbox at the Iowa State Fair, and promised to work to do just that.

“I will make defeating the climate crisis the Number One priority in the United States.  That is what we have to do to get this job done,” he said.

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Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard touted her foreign policy experience and military service during a visit to the Iowa State Fair on Friday. Speaking to potential caucus-goers and reporters, Gabbard called for an end to the country’s “wasteful wars” which she says are hamstringing federal funding for other policy priorities.

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Self-help author Marianne Williamson is addressing criticisms that she is “crazy” and unqualified to be president. Speaking to reporters and potential caucus-goers at the Iowa State Fair, the Democratic presidential candidate instead argued the critiques of her are “an intentional strategized smear."

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Former Maryland Congressman John Delaney is standing by his argument that what it takes to defeat President Donald Trump is a pragmatic approach that will unify voters across the political spectrum. Speaking to reporters and potential caucus-goers at the Iowa State Fair on Friday, Delaney said that the country needs “real solutions and not impossible promises”.

Rick Brewer / IPR

On this "news buzz" edition of River to River, Donnelle Eller of the Des Moines Register offers an update on the impact of the China trade war on agriculture and farmers, Peggy Huppert of NAMI Iowa speaks about the stigma surrounding mass shootings and mental illness and IPR's Western Iowa Reporter Katie Peikes speaks about JD Scholten's announcement to run for Iowa's 4th congressional district seat.

andrew yang
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Democrat Andrew Yang says his plan to give each American citizen $1,000 each month could help Iowans repeatedly affected by flooding to relocate.

Speaking at the Des Moines Register Political Soapbox at the Iowa State Fair Friday, the entrepreneur and presidential candidate said his plan would stimulate the economy and help create new jobs as more are lost to technological advancements.

julian castro
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Democratic presidential candidate Julián Castro told state fairgoers in Des Moines Friday Congress must act in the wake of mass shootings in Texas and Ohio. Before his speech, Castro released a policy plan to “disarm hate” by combating white supremacist violence and enacting gun control measures.

An audience member asked the former San Antonio mayor and Obama cabinet official why he’s not in El Paso, following a mass shooting there last weekend.

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