But rather than making that outreach in person in the Hawkeye State, Warren has been doing it over the phone from Washington, DC, where she and her colleagues in the Senate have been serving as jurors in President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial.
The Massachusetts Democrat has been squeezing in brief phone calls to local elected officials, power brokers and activists in Iowa by utilizing moments when she can step away from the Senate floor, where cell phones and other electronics have been strictly prohibited during impeachment hearings.
One of those calls on Thursday was to former Iowa Democratic Party Chairwoman Sue Dvorsky — and it worked.
Dvorsky confirmed to CNN on Friday that she and her husband, ex-Iowa state Sen. Bob Dvorsky, are now endorsing Warren, and that it was that call with the senator that clinched the deal for the couple.
She said she had joked to Warren that the senator had been in an impeachment trial “hellscape” lately, and suggested that the White House hopeful might want to take a different kind of break: “Ma’am, you’ve got 15 minutes. You should use it for a cigarette break.”
“I do think it’s time for a woman in the White House,” Dvorsky said. “I see our party in this process in danger of a real bifurcation and I don’t think that we can go into this fight split apart. And I think that Elizabeth Warren is uniquely situated to pull both parts of the party together. … She is pragmatic, and at the same time she’s idealistic.”
The Dvorskys had supported Sen. Kamala Harris before the California Democrat dropped out of the presidential race. With the Iowa caucuses drawing near, they felt it would be wrong to head into their caucus site on Monday without having made their intentions clear, Dvorsky said.
“We are not anonymous people in our precinct,” she said. “So we’re going to have to stand in some corner on Monday night, and it’s going to be her corner.”
On Friday afternoon, as the Senate made final deliberations over whether to call witnesses in Trump’s impeachment trial, Warren found time to speak to Polk County Democratic Chairman Sean Bagniewski.
Bagniewski answered the call from the Democratic headquarters in Des Moines, and Warren spent 10 minutes urging him to drop his neutrality and back her candidacy. The senator made a hard sell, saying she was the best candidate to unify the party.
The chairman has frequently said he believes Warren has one of the strongest organizations in Iowa’s largest county and across the state. But he has also made clear that he does not intend to make an endorsement — a message he reiterated on Friday to Warren, who did not easily take no for an answer.
In the end, Bagniewski insisted that he would not publicly back a Democratic candidate, saying it would cause unnecessary division in the final hours before Monday’s caucuses.
“We have 177 volunteers who are leading their caucuses on Monday. They don’t need to have a crappy night because their county chair couldn’t shut his trap and endorsed somebody,” Bagniewski told CNN. “It’s more important to us that we have good caucuses for all of our volunteers and our activists.”