As reported by USNews
Tim Bottaro was ready to endorse Kamala Harris. He planned an event for the California senator in Sioux City, Iowa, buying balloons to match her campaign’s colors.
But the morning before Harris was due to arrive, her campaign called the former Democratic Party chairman in Woodbury County to cancel, blaming a crucial Senate vote on disaster aid. To Bottaro, it sounded like an excuse — Harris canceled both days of her Iowa swing, while several other senators were able to make the vote and still get to Iowa that weekend.
He’s now decided not to endorse Harris, illustrating the risk candidates face if they leave Iowa residents with the impression that they’re not paying enough attention to the state’s coveted caucuses. Harris returns to Iowa this weekend promising renewed focus. But her relatively small staff and frequent travel to other places suggest Iowa isn’t the linchpin in her strategy to win the Democratic presidential nomination.
That’s prompting complaints across the state.
“They’re doing the business of being a serious presidential candidate, and I don’t think she is, at least with the way she’s handling Iowa,” Bottaro said. “Her star is fading in these parts and other parts of Iowa.”
Harris’ campaign insists she isn’t writing off Iowa.
“Our state is so important in this process,” said Deirdre DeJear, the former secretary of state candidate who is now Harris’ Iowa campaign chairwoman. “Many Iowans are just starting to tune in, and we are connecting with them. … Our campaign is being built to compete across Iowa, including all four corners of the state.”
In Polk County, home to Des Moines, where Harris has appeared before, local Democratic Party chairman Sean Bagniewski said there’s a hunger for more Harris.
“People are asking for appearances, asking for how to get involved with the campaign, asking how to support her, and they’re not seeing as much interaction as they might be seeing with (Cory) Booker or (Elizabeth) Warren or Bernie (Sanders), or some of the other campaigns at this point,” he said.