11 senior Democrats warn Joe Biden risks 'humiliating' loss in Iowa

11 senior Democrats warn Joe Biden risks 'humiliating' loss in Iowa
Joe Biden image via BBC Screengrab

Former Vice President Joe Biden is at risk of a “humiliating” loss in Iowa as a result of his poorly organized ground operation and his failure to win over party leaders and voters, 11 senior Democrats told Bloomberg News.

The top Iowa Democrats, nearly all of whom declined to be named, told the outlet that Biden is at risk of finishing in third or fourth place in the first-in-the-nation caucuses on Feb. 3. Biden’s campaign outreach has been “largely ineffective,” they said, and his campaign is too reliant on big-money fundraisers. Biden’s Iowa state director, Jake Braun, does not live in Iowa full-time and has not run a campaign in the state since 2007. Democrats told Bloomberg that Braun has made it difficult for party leaders to contact the campaign and work with Biden’s team.

The Biden campaign told the outlet that Braun worked in Iowa last year for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which raises money for House races. Braun “declined to say where he lived and hung up” on a Bloomberg reporter who reached him for comment.

Democrats who spoke to Bloomberg for the story also pointed out that Biden joined the race late, after many of his opponents had already hired the most sought-after operatives. He also hasn’t spent as much time as his rivals in the state, spending only three days in Iowa last month.

“I think it’s fair to say if action isn’t taken soon, you’re going to find that a person who was 7 or 14 points behind Biden will be breathing down his neck or actually ahead of him,” Kurt Meyer, chairman of the Mitchell County Democratic Party, told Bloomberg. “There’s still time because the caucuses are not on Oct. 27, but action needs to be taken.”

The Biden campaign countered that his campaign staff is just as big as other contenders and he has already amassed 70 endorsements in the state. But his campaign’s missteps have already cost him an early endorsement from state Sen. Tony Bisignano, who said he had endorsed Biden but the campaign left him off the invitation list for multiple Iowa events.

“If my endorsement is worth anything and if our friendship of 32 years had meant anything, I would think I would have the opportunity to talk to the vice president,” he told Bloomberg. “I’m just not reassured that the staff has been making the best decisions of his time and on issues in Iowa.”

Other Iowa Democrats told the outlet that Biden has frequently skipped events that are key to a successful strategy in Iowa, like town halls at community centers, schools and diners. Instead, he has opted for TelePrompter speeches without taking questions, which was intended to help cut down on Biden’s gaffes but now make him seem “aloof.”

Biden is still in position to win the state if he can stop his months-long slide. After leading in Iowa in nearly every poll since last year, Biden plummeted in September. Three polls from USA Today, Emerson and YouGov show Biden in a virtual tie with Sen. Elizabeth Warren. The latest poll, released last week by Iowa State University, showed Warren leading with 28 percent with Biden in fourth place, behind Sen. Bernie Sanders and South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

Biden has similarly fallen in New Hampshire, the first-in-the-nation primary state, where a CNN poll released on Tuesday showed him in third place at 15 percent, a nine-point slide since July. Biden is in a virtual tie with Sanders for second place behind Warren, according to the RealClearPolitics polling average.

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