Here is the complete list of Democratic Candidate campaign stops in Muscatine. Compiled by Muscatine County Democratic Party.
|14-Mar||Beto O’Rourke||House Party||Muscatine|
|20-Mar||Kristin Gillibrand||REDBerry Cafe||Muscatine|
|6-Apr||Bernie Sanders||West Middle School||Muscatine|
|12-Apr||John Hickenlooper||Lisa’s Place||West Liberty|
|16-Apr||Tulsi Gabbard||Missipi Brewing Company||Muscatine|
|19-Apr||Tim Ryan||The Coffee Belt||Muscatine|
|20-May||Eric Swalwell||The Black Pearl||Muscatine|
|25-May||Cory Booker||House Party||Muscatine|
|3-Jul||Amy Klobuchar||Missipi Brewing Company||Muscatine|
|14-Jul||Joe Sestak||Muscatine County Fair Parade||WestLiberty|
|15-Jul||Julian Castro||The Black Pearl||Muscatine|
|12-Aug||Kamala Harris||Bickford Cottage||Muscatine|
|14-Aug||Pete Butigieg||House Party||Muscatine|
|28-Aug||Joe Sestak||Strawberry Farm Bed and Breakfast||Muscatine|
|1-Sep||Steve Bullock||Environmental Learning Center||Muscatine|
|22-Sep||Andrew Yang||The Black Pearl||Muscatine|
|24-Sep||Bernie Sanders||West Liberty Community Center||West Liberty|
|28-Sep||Tulsi Gabbard||Environmental Learing Center||Muscatine|
|12-Oct||Michael Bennett||Missipi Brewing Company||Muscatine|
|23-Oct||Joe Biden||Pearl City Station||Muscatine|
|3-Nov||Elizabeth Warren||Jefferson Elementry School||Muscatine|
|22-Nov||Kamala Harris||Missipi Brewing Company||Muscatine|
Muscatine County just might be the epicenter of the 2020 presidential election campaign.
Eighteen Democratic candidates for President of the United State have visited Muscatine County since last March; four have been here twice.
With the Iowa Democratic caucuses slated for Feb. 3, the Muscatine County Democratic Party has worked hard to systematically recruit, schedule and coordinate campaign stops of presidential hopefuls.
Some committee members of the Muscatine County Democratic Party fielded many inquiries from exploratory candidates last year, so they established a Candidate Welcoming Committee to develop a plan to bring as many as possible to town giving voters a chance to make informed choices at the caucuses.
According to county party organizers, candidates historically would mostly visit larger Iowa cities like Des Moines, Davenport and Cedar Rapids. Usually only top-tier, front-running candidates would find their way to Muscatine. The county party wanted to help people hear from and meet all candidates, not just those in the top tier.
The Muscatine County Democratic Party implemented a program to give campaigns the information they need to see that coming to Muscatine would be worthwhile. The committee collected information about venues around town that could be available for campaign stops. With a list in hand of locations including homes and local businesses with many different sized rooms, the committee began marketing Muscatine County to campaign officials. Committee members have worked to develop relationships with the many campaign organizers in order to help coordinate events and serve as a pivot point between campaigns and venues.
“It’s been an interesting journey,” said Karen Cooney, welcoming committee chair. “But it really just comes down to marketing.”
Although the committee is not able to quantify the economic impact of its efforts, they indicate each candidate typically travels with six to 10 people and many more volunteers from around the region attend the events to help. Plus, many voters travel to Muscatine from around Eastern Iowa as well as around the United States. Candidates, staff, volunteers and voters alike may stay overnight, dine and shop in Muscatine County while here.
Most recently Senator Kamala Harris of California visited Muscatine for the second time.
“I feel like I should start telling jokes,” said Harris as she took the stage in front of a packed house at the Missipi Brewing Company, “but we could just talk about the president.”
Dressed in jeans, a blazer and Converse tennis shoes, she said justice is on the ballot in 2020.
“When we fight for justice, we will have the potential to unlock America’s promise and the potential of the American people,” said Harris, “that’s why I’m running hard in my Converse.”
In her remarks, she explained why economic justice, health care justice, justice for children, justice for immigrants, and reproductive justice will all be on the ballot.
She closed stating, “Iowans have the ability to see what’s possible. Iowa, you see it and make it happen.”
Jennifer Rogers, a nurse from North Liberty, traveled to Muscatine with her 15-year-old daughter Lilly because they want to see as many candidates as they can. Kamala Harris was the fifth they’ve been able to hear from in person.
“You can only learn so much from 90-second sound bites during a debate,” said Rogers. “An event like this means we can gain more information about their ideas and plans.”
Zach Jeffcoats of Muscatine attended the Harris event because he was interested to hear if she has different or better ideas than the front-running candidates. He said he has seen three other candidates so far and definitely intends to caucus in February as he did in 2016.
“Being president is not just a 9 to 5 job, so the President’s character and judgement is important,” said Jeffcoats.
The audience for Harris at the Missipi Brew also included voters from Kansas City, Washington DC and Davenport.
“I wish Iowans would take this more seriously,” said Nick, a mental health professional from Davenport. “Iowa is the first-in-the-nation caucus, but only single-digit percentages of Iowans participate in the caucuses.”
With only two months remaining until the Iowa Democratic caucuses, the Muscatine County Democratic Party will continue working to put candidates in front of the voters.
There are 20 Muscatine County Democratic caucus sites currently listed on the Iowa Democratic Party’s website. For more information about Iowa caucuses, visit iowademocrats.org/2020-caucuses or iowagop.org/caucuses/ for Iowa Republican caucuses. The Iowa Republican Party has not yet listed caucus sites.