Klobuchar returns to Iowa with plan for a changing economy

Politics
Amy Klobuchar

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., speaks at a campaign event, Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2019, in Milford, N.H. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

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CHICAGO (AP) — Democratic presidential candidate Amy Klobuchar on Thursday rolled out a plan to help Americans succeed in a changing economy, as she returns to Iowa looking to quickly build support with weeks to go before the first votes are cast for the party’s 2020 nomination.

The Minnesota senator’s plan, which she will discuss during a three-day swing that include forums with the Teamsters and the Iowa Farmers Union, includes tax credits to help retrain workers who lose their jobs to automation and support for workers and communities that have relied on the fossil fuel industry. It also calls for more investment in cybersecurity, encouraging small manufacturers to innovate and several measures to help the growing number of “gig” workers, such as Uber drivers, including by allowing them to form unions and by making it easier to file their taxes.

Klobuchar is trying to move closer to the top tier of candidates after seeing her support slowly grow throughout the fall, thanks to two strong debate performances that also helped the campaign bring in its highest level of donations since she joined the race in February. She has used the money to increase her advertising and hire more staff in Iowa and New Hampshire, the first two states to vote, and to open offices in the next two states, Nevada and South Carolina.

She has touted her slow-but-steady approach to the race, noting her conservative spending in the early months of the campaign has allowed her to stay in a contest that has had more than two dozen candidates. California Sen. Kamala Harris became the latest to drop out of the race, saying on Tuesday that she didn’t have the funds to continue.

But Klobuchar continues to poll a distant fifth in Iowa, behind Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Bernie Sanders of Vermont, former Vice President Joe Biden and South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg. And the time is getting short for Klobuchar to execute her strategy before Iowa’s Feb. 3 caucus.

Her campaign announced on Wednesday that it has hired a longtime political operative and former Iowa Democratic Party executive director, Norm Sterzenbach, to serve as its Iowa caucus adviser, calling the move “the latest sign of strength heading into 2020.”

Sterzenbach, who was the state director for former Rep. Beto O’Rourke’s presidential campaign before O’Rourke dropped out, brings expertise in caucus math and geography that Klobuchar’s campaign said will be a big asset heading into the final weeks.

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