Minnesota moderate U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar has potential to break through into the upper tier among Democratic presidential candidates despite the scornful nickname of "Snowman" given her by President Donald Trump.
Klobuchar, a three-term Senator, was labeled that way because she announced her candidacy outside during a snowstorm. She responded to the president's Twitter attack by wondering how Trump's hair might have fared if covered by snow. It reflected a campaign style that could help Klobuchar capture greater voter attention entering 2020, said Bob Beatty, a Washburn University political science professor.
Beatty is in the midst of touring Iowa with presidential candidates and producing a series of profile articles on the hopefuls for The Topeka Capital-Journal.
"Amy Klobuchar is the funniest candidate I've ever seen and I've been seeing candidates since 2004. I mean, like 'Ha. Ha.' She tells anecdotes and jokes that make me laugh out loud," Beatty said.
Political humor aside, he said, Klobuchar could join the conversation with Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, as well as Cory Booker, Kamala Harris or Pete Buttigieg with a message of pragmatism appealing to centrists interested in climate change, rural broadband, Russian election meddling and expansion of health care options for Americans.
An Iowa survey from Emerson Polling released Thursday offered good news for former Vice President Biden, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg and U.S. Sen. Warren. Biden and Warren were deadlocked at 23% and Buttigieg polling at 16%. Sanders, a U.S. senator, fell to 13%. No other candidates captured more than 5%. Klobuchar polled at 1% in 11th place.
"Iowa is, for lack of a better term, squirrelly," Beatty said. "There is still the potential for huge drops from someone in the top tier or a huge jump from somebody in that second tier."
Beatty tracked down Colorado U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, a former superintendent of Denver public schools, at a union hall in Waterloo, Iowa.
He was among authors of an immigration reform bill that passed the Senate in 2013, but stalled in the House. It was blocked by conservatives despite a sense there were enough House votes to adopt a measure ramping up interior enforcement and border security in return for a pathway to legal status for a majority of people living illegally in the United States.
"On paper and in person, Michael Bennet is a very, very strong candidate," Beatty said. "He has a resume that should be very popular in the Democratic Party and he should be gaining traction, but he hasn't yet."
Beatty also profiled former U.S. Rep. John Delaney, a three-term congressman from Maryland who declared his candidacy for president two years ago.
"He took on a radical strategy. He had the earliest declaration of running for president in the history of the united states. He was running TV ads in 2018," Beatty said.
Delaney is conducting a campaign that looks no further than New Hampshire and Iowa. He's hoping to earn a meaningful finish in the Iowa caucus in February, which is the first nationally. In Iowa, he's visited each county in a cycle he's calling the "Full Delaney," but his prospects remain modest.
"It can work, but it's rare," Beatty said. "It is a longshot."
He's also wrote about New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who dropped out in September. Residents of New York put up billboards in Iowa to express displeasure about de Blasio not focusing on city government issues in New York while campaigning.
De Blasio attempted to convince people in Iowa that raising the minimum wage and creating a universal pre-K program in New York City were reforms applicable nationwide. Running one of the largest cities in the world didn't translate on the campaign trail.
"The voters didn't think much about him — the Democratic voters. His polling never really went anywhere," Beatty said.
Beatty also said the last time a mayor won a national political party nomination for U.S. president was in the early 1800s.
"We're not talking about President Rudy Giuliani right now. Probably not the best platform to run from," he said.