Two presidential candidates rang in the New Year in Iowa. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders hosted a party at a Des Moines hotel last night and wished the crowd “Happy New Year” shortly after eight o’clock.
“Now I don’t have to tell anybody in this room how important the Iowa Caucus is. You go first,” Sander said. “You set the tone, you set the pace for this entire election system.”
Sanders ended his brief speech by expressing confidence in a 2016 Iowa Caucus win.
“We’re going to take that victory into New Hampshire, we’re going to go to Nevada, South Carolina, California,” Sanders said, drawing cheers with every state he mentioned. “With your help we’re going to win the Democratic nomination and with your help in 2020, we are going to defeat the most dangerous president in the modern history of America.”
New Jersey Senator Cory Booker held a mid-day campaign event at an Ankeny home and did a countdown to “Noon” Year’s Eve with the crowd. Earlier in the day, Sanders knocked on the doors of three Des Moines residents who are likely to Caucus for him on February 3rd. At one door, a woman who did not want to be identified or photographed told Sanders she had one message for him.
“He’s got to go,” she said and Sanders replied: “You are absolutely right. Those are my four words.”
The woman told Sanders she fears the country will sink into a civil war if Trump is re-elected. Sanders answered a few questions from reporters as he walked down the street between houses, including two about his Medicare for All proposal.
“As I’ve said many, many times, what a political revolution is about is finally having a government that works for ordinary people and not just, in this case, the health care industry or Wall Street or anybody else,” Sanders said.
Bill Neidhardt, the deputy state director for Sanders’ campaign, said Sanders’ Tuesday afternoon walk was a sort of kick-off for the homestretch.
“Starting January 1st to Caucus Day — February 3rd — we are going to try to knock half a million doors in this state,” he said. “That’s going to take thousands of people every weekend and if you wanted to average it out, it would look like 100,000 doors every weekend knocked by our volunteers, so we have a lot of work to do.”
The final push, according to Neidhardt, will be focused on ensuring already-identified Sanders supporters have a plan for getting to their precinct meeting site on Caucus night.
“Do you need a ride? We can give you a ride,” Neidhardt said. “…It’s very much in the turn-out phase of the field operation.”
Sanders will be back on the Iowa campaign trail Thursday with events on the Meskwaki Settlement, in Grinnell and in Muscatine. Booker will campaign in Creston and Shenandoah this afternoon and speak at a town hall forum tonight in Perry.