We’re t-minus 315 days and counting to the Iowa Caucuses. That’s February 3 of next year.
We are at a point where it seems every few days a Democratic presidential hopeful comes through the Quad Cities area to campaign.
They are on the prowl for the nomination. They’re coming early and often.
That’s necessary in a field this large and growing.
Fifteen Democrats and we expect to add two more faces very soon: Former Vice President Joe Biden and Colorado Senator Michael Bennet are likely joining the race.
Don’t be surprised if it doesn’t end there.
Today we’re focused on Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of new york.
She made the rounds in Davenport, Muscatine and Burlington this week delivering her stump speech.
Gillibrand attracted a big enough crowd to fill the room at the Barrel House in downtown Davenport on Tuesday night.
The Senator touted her ability to work with Republicans as a reason she should be the nominee and why Iowans should support her on caucus night next February.
“I bring good ideas to the floor,” Gillibrand said. “I find Republican support and I pass bills. People in Iowa want someone who will make a difference and get things done. That is who I am. That’s the experience I’ve had over the last 10 years and it’s what I do.”
A lot of people at the campaign event indicated it was their first exposure to Gillibrand and her political positions.
They’re not ready to commit their support.
The Democrats who came out to listen to what she had to say seemed to be impressed by her and that she breaks through the norms.
“Males dominate and women are supposed to be relegated to the back seat and I believe that she’s very strongly the antithesis of that,” said Tom Jones of Clinton.
“I didn’t feel like she was just going through the talking points,” Alexandra Symans of Bettendorf said. “I really felt that she cared about what she was saying.”
“To see the plethora of different issues that were being discussed from LGBTQ, to reproductive rights, to DACA recipients and dreamers, right. So it was a good experience in that sense,” said Ruben Lucio, who was
Gillibrand entered the campaign with national name recognition. She’s the junior senator from New York.
She holds the seat vacated by Hillary Clinton when she became Secretary of State.
Gillibrand served in the House of Reprsentatives for a term before that.
She spent her career in private life primarily as a lawyer when she defended Big Tobacco as a client, while also doing pro bono work defending abused women.
Over the last couple of years, Gillibrand became a prominent political face of the #MeToo movement and was the most vocal member of Congress to force Senator Al Franken out of office, a position that cost her some political points within her own party.
Gillibrand referred to herself as a progressive when she formally launched her campaign in a video last weekend.
You can argue that’s a political shift based on her record.
One example is that the senator now promises she won’t take any campaign donations from corporate political action committees or federal lobbyists.
That’s a change for her.
The website opensecrets.org indicates she accepted thousands of dollars in PAC money from the likes of Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, Morgan Stanley and Pfizer in her previous campaigns.
Senator Gillibrand sat down Wednesday morning for a conversation with 4 The Record that covered policy and politics.
Here’s the first part of our conversation.
Gillibrand has to set yourself apart from a field of 15 for now — very likely to be more.
She belongs to a party that professes to be for Main Street not Wall Street.
But she represents New York, practically synonymous with Wall Street and she gauged the support of Wall Street executives when considering running for president.
We asked Gillibrand how she overcomes that challenge or perception that she’s more tied to Wall Street than everyday Americans in places like Iowa and Illinois.
Gillibrand promised not to take corporate PAC money or donations from federal lobbyists.
She did take corporate PAC money when she ran for the House and Senate.
Gillibrand explained why it is so important to her now, but wasn’t before.
Watch the full converation in the video above.
Local 4 News, your local election headquarters, is proud to present 4 The Record, a weekly news and public affairs program focused on the issues important to you. It’s a program unlike any other here in the Quad Cities. Tune in each Sunday at 10:30 a.m. as Jim Niedelman brings you up to speed on what’s happening in the political arena, from Springfield, Des Moines, Washington, D.C. and right here at home.