On the eve of his fall fundraiser featuring six Democratic presidential candidates, Senator Tom Harkin is declaring the 2008 race wide open. "If I had one word to describe it right now: jump ball," Harkin said Friday afternoon during taping of the Iowa Public TV show "Iowa Press."
According to Harkin, 40 to 50 percent of Iowa Democrats haven’t settled on a candidate yet and those who have could still shift their allegiance to another."As you know from the Dean experience four years ago, between now and then people might change their minds," Harkin said. "If someone says something, something happens — this shifting could take place."
Harkin does not plan to endorse a candidate before the Iowa Caucuses, unlike last time around when Harkin publicly backed Howard Dean. "That didn’t really work out too well," Harkin said, laughing. "I think that’s when Iowa voters told me to mind my own business and they’d make up their own minds."
Harkin ran for president himself back in 1991 and ’92, dropping out after a poor finish in New Hampshire’s primary. According to Harkin, it’s hard for a long-time senator to win the presidency — partly because he and other senators speak "senatoreze."
The 2007 Harkin steak fry is set for Sunday in Indianola and over 10,000 tickets have been sold.