Weekend With Bernie

05.19.14

Bernie Sanders Woos Iowa Activists

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders has spent the past two days quietly meeting with activists in the Hawkeye State.

Bernie Sanders didn't just play a one night stand when he spoke to Democrats in Clinton County, Iowa on Saturday night.

The Daily Beast has learned that Sanders, the independent senator from Vermont contemplating a 2016 presidential bid as a Democrat, spent Sunday and Monday in the Hawkeye State meeting with liberal activists. On Sunday morning, Sanders did the rounds in the college town and progressive bastion of Iowa City, where he was scheduled to meet with a group that Jean Pardee, the chair of the Clinton County Democratic Party described as " a couple of dozen progressive people" while Monday, Sanders had multiple events in Des Moines. 

Pardee said that originally Sanders "was just going to come to our dinner and fly back" but then changed his plans. The two-term senator faces a number of potential obstacles in the Iowa caucuses, the least of which is that he is not a registered Democrat, let alone the looming political juggernaut of Hillary Clinton's potential candidacy. 

But, by making the rounds and meeting Democratic activists, it's a strong indication that Sanders is taking an potential presidential campaign seriously and laying the groundwork necessary to mount a credible bid. Iowa Democrats have long expected presidential candidates to personally woo them and traditionally, potential candidates have paid repeated visits far earlier in the election cycle. The path to the Oval Office for a Democratic Socialist from Vermont will be difficult regardless, but it's clear so far that Sanders is putting in the necessary effort to maximize his chances.