DES MOINES — Minnesota Senator and Democratic presidential candidate Amy Klobuchar has launched a three-day campaign swing through Iowa, starting last night with a stop at a diner in a Des Moines suburb.
“We have had a lot of momentum in my campaign lately and we’re pretty excited about that,” Klobuchar told the gathering of Urbandale Democrats. “I found out we’re (fifth) in Iowa…We’re making the December debate, so that is our big momentum.”
Her appearance came shortly after multiple media outlets reported that former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is preparing to enter the presidential race. Klobuchar told reporters she’s not sure another candidate is needed, but she welcomed Bloomberg to the competition.
“Does it bug me sometimes, as someone that doesn’t come from money, that these guys can put all their own money in and run a bunch of ads? Yeah, it does. I would be lying if I said it didn’t bother me,” Klobuchar said. “…Our collective forces, honestly, won’t be able to match what billionaires bring into the race. I understand that, but the American public many, many times has not gone for the richest person.”
Bloomberg already has spent hundreds of millions of dollars from his fortune to build public support for action on climate change and gun legislation. If he does decide to run, Bloomberg would be the second billionaire in the Democratic presidential field. Tom Steyer is worth an estimated $1,6 billion and Forbes estimates Bloomberg is worth $52 billion. Klobuchar, who supports public financing of elections, said it’s “sad” that many races often boil down to who has the most money to spend, but “money isn’t everything,” according to Klobuchar.
“The more billionaires you get in the race, the more obvious that becomes,” Klobuchar said. “…We already have a multi-millionaire in the White House. How has that worked out? Not very well.”
Some of the people in the crowd weren’t too keen on Bloomberg’s candidacy. Mary Christen Czech of Urbandale, a Klobuchar supporter, suggested now is the time to subtract rather than add candidates to the race.
“I think right now we’re saturated,” she said. “I think people want to narrow it down and focus. We need to get somebody going head-to-head with Trump and prepare for that.”
Rick Smith of Urbandale, a long-time Democratic Party activist, has not chosen a candidate to support yet. Smith said a lot of things can happen between now and Caucus Night.
“I think the reason he’s coming in here is because Biden is slipping a little bit and that leaves the top tier as Warren and Sanders,” Smith said. “…I think that scares the business community.”
Smith suggested some activists may be moved by Bloomberg’s activism on climate change and the millions he’s spent pushing for universal background checks for gun purchases.
“That would excite me, but can you imagine the Bernie and the Warren supporters going for another billionaire?” Smith asked rhetorically. “I don’t think so.”
Sanders tweeted tonight that the “billionaire class is scared and they should be.” Warren tweeted that her plans are “very popular” and “will make a huge difference for working people.”