2020 presidential hopefuls ramp up campaign efforts as Iowa caucuses inch closer


adamkaz/iStock(WASHINGTON) — With just three months until caucus-goers head to their assigned precincts in Iowa, and the first ballots are counted in New Hampshire, the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates are ramping up their campaign efforts in hopes of winning over primary voters. After Wednesday night’s debate in Atlanta and two weeks of public testimony amid the House’s impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, the candidates are keeping up their momentum on the trail — traveling the country on Friday and Saturday — hoping to make an impression, especially as the presidential pool seems to continue to widen.On Thursday, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg filed with the Federal Election Commission to make his candidacy official. He also recently announced his plans to spend more than $36 million on a television ad buy. This comes just a couple weeks after former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick threw his hat in the ring and filed to run last week.Here’s what they were up to on Saturday:Former Vice President Joe BidenAs other top tier candidates flocked to New Hampshire, Biden flew to the Midwest on Saturday to make his pitch to potential caucus-goers, alongside his wife, Dr. Jill Biden. The former vice president was greeted by over 350 supporters at a community event in Des Moines, Iowa, including former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack and his wife Christine.Vilsack, who served as the Secretary of Agriculture under the Obama administration, announced his formal endorsement of Biden at this event.Biden also told his supporters he has always felt comfortable in Iowa.”It’s not any different than where I was raised in Scranton. Not Scranton, Iowa, Scranton, Pennsylvania,” he said. “But really and truly, it’s about basic decency and value.”He also made news in an interview with CNN’s Don Lemon, where he reiterated his belief that the Senate should impeach Trump.”I hope they have the courage. I hope they remember this is a moment, a moment when their record is going to go down in history as whether they played it by the rules,” he said.Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth WarrenAs Warren took the microphone at a canvassing kick-off event in Salem, New Hampshire on Saturday, she began with a joke.”Yeah, I sound a little hoarse. I picked up a cold … one hug too many in the selfie line,” she said. “Nevertheless, I persist.”Warren returned to New Hampshire following her appearance on the debate stage Wednesday.New England natives have historically performed well in the Granite state. Former Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis won the state in 1988. Former Massachusetts Sen., turned Secretary of State, John Kerry carried the primary in 2004 and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders notably defeated Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire to win the first in the nation primary back in 2016.According to a recent Quinnipiac University poll, Warren is currently polling in second place in New Hampshire, with 16%, just four points behind Biden.Vermont Sen. Bernie SandersAs Democrats wait to see if Bloomberg will actually jump into the Democratic primary race, Sanders is not shying away from sharing criticism of the potential run. As Sanders tweeted on Friday afternoon, he said he is “disgusted” that billionaires like Bloomberg believe they can “circumvent the political process and spend tens of millions of dollars to buy elections.”Sanders doubled down on his comments at a rally in Franklin, New Hampshire on Saturday afternoon, telling supporters that Bloomberg’s recent advertising announcement is a “symptom of the problem that we have, of the power of the billionaire class. Mr. Bloomberg, to the best of my knowledge, has very little grassroots support.”California Sen. Kamala Harris Harris is back on the trail in Iowa, this weekend, with a number of relatively intimate town hall events. The senator, who has often joked that she is moving to Iowa, continues to invest almost all of her campaign resources into the Hawkeye state. She has also announced her plans to spend Thanksgiving with her family in the state.At an event in Muscatine, Iowa on Friday evening, the senator also criticized Bloomberg’s decision to spend more than $36 million on advertising.”That’s a lot of dough. You know, listen, we gotta get money out of politics,” Harris said. “It’s a system that is broken and it really needs to be fixed if, again, we are going to be true to our democracy, which, at its heart in voting, assumes that one person equals one vote and that those votes are equal.”Before heading back to Iowa for the holiday, Harris will travel to South Carolina on Saturday night for several meet-and-greet events with voters.New Jersey Sen. Cory BookerIn just nine hours following Booker’s appearance on the debate stage, his campaign raised more than a million dollars, helping him cross the $200,000 unique donor threshold needed to qualify for the December debate. However, Booker has yet to meet the second requirement to join his competition on the debate stage next month — polling a minimum of 4% of support in four national or early state polls.Over the weekend, Booker plans to make eight stops within a 26-hour period, making his pitch to voters in the Granite State.At an event in Durham, New Hampshire, on Friday evening, Booker spoke candidly with a 14-year-old high school freshman named Zoe, who expressed her fear in going to school everyday in light of recent uptick in school shootings.”I go to school every day, terrified that I won’t be coming home,” she told Booker.The senator told her that gun violence would not be a “secondary issue” in his presidency.He specifically pointed to his experience in his hometown of Newark, New Jersey, where he said he’s worked hard to fight gun violence in inner city neighborhoods.South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete ButtigiegSouth Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg is notably absent from the campaign trail this weekend, following a successful appearance on the debate stage on Wednesday evening.Buttigieg recently surged in several primary polls in Iowa. A Monmouth University poll put Buttigieg at 22%, though still within the margin of error, among likely Democratic caucus-goers.Biden followed at 19%, trailed by Warren, at 18% and Sanders with 13%.Additionally, a Des Moines Register/CNN poll showed Buttigieg with a 9-point lead over Warren, who ranked second.Buttigieg will head back to Iowa on Monday to continue his push for a potential underdog upset in Iowa.Minnesota Sen. Amy KlobucharAlthough Klobuchar has already qualified for the December debate, she has not slowed down her campaigning.Joining many of her fellow candidates in New Hampshire, Klobuchar also criticized Bloomberg’s ad-buy decision.”You can’t just run ads and then go back to where you live,” she told reporters after a town hall in New Hampshire.Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.