DES MOINES — Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. has not been a favorite of newspaper editorial boards so far, and he lost out on the coveted Des Moines Register endorsement on Saturday. But his campaign emerged from the day with a different endorsement to trumpet, from The Sioux City Journal in northwest Iowa.
The Journal’s case for Mr. Biden focused on his ability to pose a strong challenge to President Trump in the general election — an argument that is central to Mr. Biden’s candidacy. The Journal suggested Mr. Biden was well positioned to attract support not only from Democrats, but also from independents and from “disgruntled Republicans.”
“We view Biden as a pragmatist — and we believe his pragmatism is an attribute,” the newspaper wrote in its endorsement. “We refuse to believe middle-of-the-road compromise should be or is a relic of the past.”
Read more Biden picks up a helpful (and rare) newspaper endorsement.
Northwest Iowa is a heavily Republican area, and it has not been a top focus of campaigning for Democratic presidential candidates. But The Journal’s track record bodes well for Mr. Biden. The newspaper endorsed Al Gore in the 2000 primary race and Barack Obama in the 2008 contest, both of whom went on to win the Iowa caucuses and become the Democratic nominee.
Credit…Jordan Gale for The New York Times
DAVENPORT, Iowa — Patrick Peacock, an alderman on the Davenport city council, said before a gymnasium filled with more than 300 people Sunday morning that he had the high honor of introducing the next president of the United States: Senator Elizabeth Warren.
Then he tried to get the crowd fired up.
“El-Liz-A-Beth! El-Liz-A-Beth! El-Liz-A-Beth! El-Liz-A-Beth!” he exhorted.
Read more ‘El-Liz-A-Beth!’ Warren jokes she needs a more ‘chantable’ name.
The crowd tried. But four syllables do not an easy chant make — a fact that Ms. Warren acknowledged when she jogged out to the familiar tunes of Dolly Parton’s “9 to 5.”
“Next time, I’m going to get a more chantable name,” Ms. Warren joked.
Luckily, she has some ready-made options: Ms. Warren was known as Betsy growing up and later as Liz.
The first time we interviewed the Democratic presidential candidates, late last spring, we had a pile of yes-or-no, either-or policy questions to ask, many of them representing litmus-test issues at the heart of Democratic politics: single-payer health care and foreign wars, wealth concentration and tech regulation.
Our second round of interviews was different. For starters, we asked fewer candidates to participate, inviting only the ones with a realistic shot at accumulating a substantial number of delegates.
Read more We interviewed the Democratic candidates. Again.
And we asked them, for the most part, a different genre of questions, exploring not just policy issues but also their ideas about leadership and the presidency.
Our hope was to produce a set of interviews that would guide voters trying to make a difficult final decision about which candidate they’d like to put in the country’s most powerful job.
Take a look.
Credit…Jim Wilson/The New York Times
DES MOINES — The entrepreneur Andrew Yang qualified for the next Democratic debate with a string of four strong polls released in quick succession on Saturday and Sunday.
Two polls of New Hampshire voters — one from CNN and the University of New Hampshire, and the other from NBC News and Marist — showed Mr. Yang at 5 percent, the minimum to qualify for the debate.
A national Fox News poll also showed him at 5 percent. And a national ABC News/Washington Post poll released Saturday found him at 7 percent, his best showing ever in a debate-qualifying survey.
Read more Andrew Yang qualifies for the next debate.
Mr. Yang, who did not qualify for the last debate, is the seventh candidate to qualify for the next one. He had long since met the Democratic National Committee’s other qualification requirement: a minimum of 225,000 donors.
“America has spoken,” Mr. Yang’s campaign chief, Nick Ryan, said in a statement Sunday morning. “Voters clearly missed Andrew Yang’s presence in the most recent debate, and now they are making sure he will be on the debate stage in New Hampshire. The race for the nomination has only just begun, and Andrew Yang is going to keep fighting for all Americans to have their voices heard.”
Mr. Yang will join former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.; former Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind.; Senators Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts; and the former hedge fund executive Tom Steyer onstage in Manchester, N.H., on Feb. 7, four days before the New Hampshire primary.
STORM LAKE, Iowa — Pete Buttigieg had one of northwest Iowa’s most coveted surrogates introduce him before a town-hall-style event Saturday night at Buena Vista University: David Johnson, a former state senator who in 2016 quit the Republican Party when Donald J. Trump won its presidential nomination.
Mr. Johnson, who didn’t seek re-election in 2018, represents exactly what Mr. Buttigieg says he’d bring as the Democratic presidential nominee: support from former Republicans disgusted with Mr. Trump.
The only problem? Mr. Johnson endorsed Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota in September. He’s planning to serve as a precinct captain for Ms. Klobuchar in his hometown, Ocheyedan, just over the border between Iowa and Minnesota.
Read more A Klobuchar endorser switches to Buttigieg? Not quite.
That didn’t stop the Buttigieg campaign from informing reporters that Mr. Johnson, who introduced Mr. Buttigieg as “the next president of the United States,” had “announced his support for him.”
Mr. Johnson said after the event that he’s still backing Ms. Klobuchar.
“They’re two good candidates,” he said. “I’m just happy with someone from the Midwest.”
Mr. Johnson said he was asked to introduce Mr. Buttigieg after the scheduled introducer had car trouble and missed the event. He called Mr. Buttigieg the next president, he said, because that’s just something you say when someone visits Iowa.
“It’s a courtesy,” he said. “I would do it for anyone who had a D behind their name.”
Despite his affection for them, Mr. Johnson doesn’t expect either Mr. Buttigieg or Ms. Klobuchar to win the state’s caucuses.
“My prediction is Senator Sanders,” he said, referring to Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who is leading in the latest Iowa polling.
“There’s a lot of things that have happened, and Secretary Clinton didn’t do any good to tamp down his case,” he said, referencing critical remarks Hillary Clinton made last week about her former primary rival.
“I tell you, that guy’s people are going to be out there with a vengeance.”
AMES, Iowa — The impeachment trial scrambled plans for the senators competing in the Democratic primary race. They would normally be blitzing Iowa in the final days before the caucuses, but they instead spent much of the past week in Washington, serving as jurors for the trial of President Trump, before returning to Iowa on Saturday.
Bernie Sanders took something of a lighthearted tone about his Washington detention.
“I am really delighted to be here tonight,” he told a crowd in Ames, after being introduced by the filmmaker Michael Moore and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York. “You don’t know how delighted I am, because last night, I didn’t know that I would be here!”
Read more Sanders returns to Iowa: ‘I am really delighted to be here.’
Earlier in the night, he also briefly touched on his time in Washington.
“As you well know, we have had to radically change our schedule in the last week — kind of toss it into the garbage can and begin anew,” he said at a stop on Marshalltown. “But we are going to be back here in Iowa in the next week every moment that we possibly can.”
It is not clear how much, or even if, being away from the trail will affect Mr. Sanders and the other senators in the race. For now, he is surging in Iowa, and gaining momentum in other early states.
A New York Times/Siena College poll released on Saturday showed Mr. Sanders in a commanding first place, with 25 percent support — 7 percent ahead of his nearest opponent. A poll on Sunday from CNN showed him leading in New Hampshire, too.
MUSCATINE, Iowa — The Des Moines Register endorsed Senator Elizabeth Warren for the Democratic presidential nomination on Saturday night, calling her “the best leader for these times.”
The newspaper, Iowa’s largest and most influential, gave Ms. Warren a boost just over a week before the caucuses on Feb. 3, when Iowans will take part in the first nominating contest of the primary cycle.
The Register’s endorsement landed as Ms. Warren worked her way through her selfie line after a town-hall-style event in Muscatine, Iowa.
Read more How Warren found out she won the Des Moines Register endorsement.
She did not find out until after she took the final picture, when her communications director, Kristen Orthman, pulled her aside to share the news.
Ms. Warren leapt back in excitement — pulling her hands to her chest, as if to say, “what, me?” — and then pumped both hands in the air and did a little dance. Ms. Orthman then appeared to show Ms. Warren the editorial on her phone.
Ms. Warren gulped down a sip of coconut water, one of her campaign trail staples, and headed over to a gathered group of reporters and microphones with a smile.
“I just heard and I’m delighted,” Ms. Warren said of the endorsement. “It really means a lot to me. I’m very happy.”
The endorsement was one of three released in quick succession Saturday evening. The New Hampshire Union Leader backed Amy Klobuchar, writing: “Her work in Washington has led to the passage of an impressive number of substantive bills, even as the partisan divide has deepened.
And The Sioux City Journal in Iowa gave its support to Joseph R. Biden Jr., calling him “the candidate best positioned to give Americans a competitive head-to-head matchup with President Trump.”
DES MOINES — We’re approaching the final week before the Iowa presidential caucuses, and the Democratic campaign pulsed with a newly urgent and frenetic energy on Sunday morning as the five top candidates descended on the state and a crush of new polls and endorsements came out.
Here’s how to think about it:
There are eight days left until the caucuses next Monday night, and there are plenty of undecided or wavering Iowa voters who have a history of breaking late in favor of a candidate. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont is ahead in Iowa in the latest New York Times/Siena College poll, while he and former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. are effectively tied in a new CBS News poll in Iowa published on Sunday. Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts just won The Des Moines Register’s endorsement and Mr. Biden picked up the Sioux City Journal’s backing.
Read more The Iowa caucuses are in 8 days.
Most of the campaign events on Sunday are in the Democratic population centers of Des Moines, Cedar Rapids and Davenport, and the candidates are making a case for their policy ideas but also for their electability.
While Mr. Sanders almost tied Hillary Clinton in Iowa in 2016, the competition is much greater now, but also fluid. There are two liberal candidates — Mr. Sanders and Ms. Warren — competing for Iowa’s big progressive vote, which often turns out energetically on caucus night. Three moderates — Mr. Biden, former Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind., and Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota — are largely carving up the centrist vote.
Yes, there is overlap among the candidates. Ms. Warren and Mr. Buttigieg are both chasing upper-income, college-educated, left-leaning Democrats, for instance. But polls indicate that Mr. Sanders could be on a path to putting together a plurality of caucusgoers next Monday night.
The main takeaway from the new polls — in addition to the Iowa polls, there were two national surveys and two New Hampshire primary polls — is that Mr. Sanders and Mr. Biden are now co-front-runners, with Mr. Biden having the edge nationally and Mr. Sanders in New Hampshire (as well as Iowa). Mr. Buttigieg and Ms. Warren have strength in New Hampshire as well, but their fate in the Feb. 11 primary there is partly dependent on how well they do in Iowa.
We are out with the top five candidates across Iowa today and will bring you updates throughout the afternoon and evening.