The final “Harkin Steak Fry” fundraiser was three years ago. The first annual “Polk County Steak Fry” is this Saturday. Sean Bagniewski, the chairman of Polk County Democrats, says it’s rebranded as just the “steak fry.”
“We had talked to Senator Harkin in June about bringing back at least just the name,” Bagniewski says, “but as long as it was a separate event, he was comfortable with giving us that permission.”
Harkin’s “Steak Fry” was a venue to rev up Democrats for the General Election or, in non-election years, it was a proving ground for presidential candidates of the future. The new “steak fry” this Saturday in Des Moines will feature Democrats from Massachusetts, Ohio and Illinois who are members of the U.S. House. None are household names — and Bagniewski says that’s a positive.
“In some ways for Democrats right now, they are so desperate to see new faces that it’s a draw to not know these national leaders yet,” Bagnewski says.
Democrats who are running for governor and the candidates running for congress in the third district also will speak to the crowd on Saturday. Bagnewski says Polk County Democrats already have sold “steak fry” tickets to Iowans from all corners of the state and a few other states.
“Pottawattamie County, Woodbury County, Union County, Linn County, Johnson County, Dubuque County and then we’ve also sold tickets in Texas, Nebraska, Illinois, Minnesota and Wisconsin,” Bagniewski says. “So even though the name is, you know, obviously ‘The Polk County Steak Fry,’ it’s very much a statewide event and then also a regional event as well.”
The Steak Fry will be held outdoors at Waterworks Park in Des Moines on Saturday afternoon. Tickets are $35 each and must be purchased in advance. No tickets will be sold at the gates.