2020 Iowa Caucuses

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River to River's "Home State View" series helps us understand how the presidential candidates are viewed as leaders in the states they call home. Host Ben Kieffer interviews journalists who have spent years covering the candidates. We get the little-known details about each hopeful's history. Click the "play" button to listen.

John Pemble / IPR

South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s newest plan released Friday morning aims to expand access to healthcare in rural areas. Buttigieg is the latest in a string of Democratic presidential candidates to release policy proposals this week meant to improve rural life.

John Pemble / IPR

Former Vice President Joe Biden said he has what it takes to strengthen gun laws in the country following mass shootings in Texas and Ohio last weekend. Biden told reporters at the Iowa State Fair Thursday that it violates no one’s Second Amendment right to tell people they can’t own certain weapons like an assault rifle. 

"We can get it done," Biden said. "We can get it done with background checks done. We can get it done because the public is finally at the point that it’s sick of it. It is sick of it. I’ve got it done before and I can get it done again."

John Pemble / IPR

A long weekend of political speeches got underway Thursday afternoon at the Iowa State Fair, as Montana Gov. Steve Bullock delivered the first speech at the Des Moines Register’s Political Soapbox.  Candidates get 20 minutes to talk to whoever shows up to listen at a stage along the Grand Concourse.  The crowd for Bullock was pretty thick, though some attendees said they had arrived early to hear former Vice President Joe Biden, who was scheduled to speak about 20 minutes after Bullock concluded.

Some two dozen presidential candidates have been campaigning in Iowa since way before much of the rest of the country tuned in to the race. Many have been coming here for months, some for years. On the fifth episode of Caucus Land, we'll introduce them to you.


Amy Mayer / IPR

Democratic presidential candidate and Minnesota U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar chose a family farm in Ankeny that nearly abuts suburban housing as the backdrop for her farm and rural policy announcement Wednesday.

Adam Cohn/Flickr / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/

Presidential campaign staffers and political activists are facing off in a different kind of competition Saturday – dodgeball. While the event is a matter of Iowa caucus organizing, it’s also about friendship.

Reid Rosenberg / Flickr


The major parties in Iowa generally agree that the caucuses should remain first in the nation and they don't agree on much else. On the fourth episode of Caucus Land, we ask the state's party leaders how they can put aside their differences to keep Iowa first and what the 2018 midterms say about 2020.


Kate Payne/IPR

A coalition of environmental groups wants presidential candidates to treat drinking water as a top policy priority, and is asking them to build out their positions on how to ensure access to safe and affordable water for all Americans. But some politicos are skeptical the issue can compete for voters' attention at a time when much of the conversation is focusing on universal health care, the economy and climate change.

Kate Payne/IPR

Democratic presidential candidate Kirsten Gillibrand is taking aim at fossil fuel companies in her new climate plan released Thursday. The New York senator outlined her proposal during a panel discussion at Coe College in Cedar Rapids.

During the 2016 presidential election, two seemingly impossible candidates took both major parties by storm, and American politics hasn't been the same. On the third episode of Caucus Land, Iowa gives Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump a stage and a microphone.    

John Pemble/IPR

Democrats running for president have been spending a lot more time this cycle talking to voters in western Iowa, which is predominately Republican and rural. Many of them are visiting that part of the state with J.D. Scholten, a former congressional candidate from their party who almost beat an embattled Republican congressman last year.

“We built something this last cycle and I hope you guys take it further,” Scholten said to a crowd gathered at The Mucky Duck Pub in Ames, Iowa ahead of the first Democratic presidential debate.

The Iowa caucuses are not known to be particularly inclusive or diverse. But in the 2008 cycle, the state became the jumping off point for a candidate who would become the nation’s first black president. On the second episode of Caucus Land, Barack Obama’s road to the White House.


Charlie Neibergall / AP

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden unveiled a health care plan Monday that would add a public option to the Affordable Care Act.  The former vice president talked about the plan at a Des Moines forum hosted by AARP Iowa and the Des Moines Register. Biden has differed from many of his opponents in not calling for a “Medicare for All” plan.

Kate Payne/IPR

About a thousand left-leaning Iowans weathered 90 degree temperatures in Cedar Rapids Sunday to hear from ten Democratic presidential candidates at Progress Iowa’s annual Corn Feed event. Each of the presidential hopefuls had about ten minutes to make their case.

Amy Mayer / IPR

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris of California campaigned in Iowa on the 4th of July.

Harris greeted hundreds of Iowans on a hot afternoon in the yard of a private home in Indianola. Farm fields lent a backdrop to the senator’s criticism of the current administration’s trade policy.

IPR/Pat Blank

Ohio Congressman and Democratic candidate for president Tim Ryan stopped in Eastern Iowa Wednesday. At the University of Northern Iowa, Ryan said he thinks he’s meeting the challenge of setting himself apart from the more than 20 other candidates in the field.

“I think I best understand in that we are living in this age of anxiety, whether it’s economic anxiety or around health care, around what we see with immigration and the reality of it is the candidate that best understands that I think is going to be the candidate that the people are going to put forward," he said.

Katie Peikes / IPR

Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg Wednesday unveiled his plan in Sioux City to expand the number of paid service opportunities around the country. He said doing this could unite people in a nation where "democracy is struggling a little bit."

Kate Payne/IPR

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is highlighting his most recent fundraising blitz as he tours across Iowa this week. Even as recent polling shows support slipping for the Vermont senator, he’s voicing no doubts about his prospects in the first in the nation caucus state.

Thomas Hawk/Flickr Creative Commons

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.

John Pemble/IPR

River to River's "Home State View" series helps us understand how the presidential candidates are viewed as leaders in the states they call home. Host Ben Kieffer interviews journalists who have spent years covering the candidates. We get the little-known details about each hopeful's history. Click the "play" button to listen.

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.

John Pemble/IPR

River to River's "Home State View" series helps us understand how the presidential candidates are viewed as leaders in the states they call home. Host Ben Kieffer interviews journalists who have spent years covering the candidates. We get the little-known details about each hopeful's history. Click the "play" button to listen. 

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.

John Pemble/IPR

River to River's "Home State View" series helps us understand how the presidential candidates are viewed as leaders in the states they call home. Host Ben Kieffer interviews journalists who have spent years covering the candidates. We get the little-known details about each hopeful's history. Click the "play" button to listen.

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.

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