How Booker plans to beat expectations in Iowa caucuses

BY Michael Hill, Correspondent |

Fiery oratory, personal and policy challenges and championships, a ton of emotion are all hallmarks of Senator and presidential candidate Cory Booker’s campaign speeches. One at The Sherman Phoenix, a hub for small businesses that have risen literally from the ashes of unrest and arson after a police shooting in Milwaukee.

The significant of Wisconsin is not lost on the Booker campaign or Democrats in general. In fact, some of them blame losing Wisconsin in 2016 to losing the presidency.

Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes has not endorsed any presidential candidate, but welcomes them to talk about issues important to Badger state voters to avoid what is calls a repeat of 2016.

“It was a lack of turnout. We didn’t have a whole lot of enthusiasm on our side, or the other side either, because Donald Trump got 6,000 fewer votes than Mitt Romney. It’s not that Donald Trump won Wisconsin. It’s that we as Democrats lost,” said Barnes.

Sisters Jennifer Stott and Melva Tatum have not committed to any candidate.

“We’re trying to do our due diligence I guess you can say,” Tatum said.

“I want to hear before I make a decision,” said Stott.

They heard about a number of Booker’s plans, among them how to curb gun violence. The sisters lost a cousin to it. They heard Booker’s emotional plea.

“When children are being killed every single day in our nation by gun violence, where is the justice?” asked Booker

The sisters were among those posing for a selfie with the senator and sounding like converts.

“He’s become my number one because I’m tired of talking about gun control but nothing’s done,” Tatum said.

“I think our pathway to victory flows through cities like this. We need to make sure that we have candidates that can excite, energize, engage, connect in an authentic way,” Booker said.

Saturday afternoon Booker took to the Des Moines Register’s soapbox at the Iowa State Fair. Saturday night, Booker bounced a baby at the Meskwaki Annual Powwow and clung to a theme of one nation.

At the Des Moines Area Community College Town Hall, Booker found cheers for his ideas–– health care for all and more. But, he experienced some push back as well.

“My concern is how can our nation afford that? And if we can, then let’s do it. But I’m concerned that we can’t and that does give me pause,” said Tom Hogan, an Iowa resident.

But not state Rep. Heather Matson.

“I’m here because I want to share why I’ve decided to announce my support of Cory Booker as the next president of the United States,” she said. “I’ve realized that Cory lives the values he espouses. That if we truly want to heal the division in our country we must be bold on policy.”

Booker picked up his sixth state lawmaker endorsement — the most of any of the presidential candidates. Monmouth pollster Patrick Murray spent much of last week in Iowa. He said Iowa endorsements such as Matson’s matter.