Illinois Senator Barak Obama has begun telephoning key Iowa Democrats as he prepares to seek the Democratic party’s presidential nomination. Obama filed papers Tuesday to form an exploratory committee, a step presidential candidates take before they formally declare their intentions to run for the White House. Shortly afterwards, Obama talked with Mike Gronstal, the Democratic Leader of the Iowa Senate.
"I also talked with him last week and (Obama) called me yesterday to let me know he had filed his papers," Gronstal says. "I told him Iowa is a place where Iowa Caucus attenders are very studious about their job of picking a presidential nominee." Gronstal told Obama he would be welcome to speak privately with the 30 Democrats who serve in the Iowa Senate. "And (I would) certainly be happy to get him in touch with anybody in any of the communities that he might be visiting," Gronstal says.
Obama intends to formally declare his candidacy on February 10th in Springfield, Illinois. Iowa is reportedly the next stop on his itinerary. Gronstal told Obama he will have to spend time in Iowa in order to win over the "hearts and minds" of Iowans. "I told him that, that he would need to come to Iowa and stand in living rooms and take questions from Caucus attenders," Gronstal says. Obama made three visits to Iowa last fall, including a stop in Iowa City the Sunday before the election.