Bernie Sanders Surge Lead Story as Iowa Caucus Approaches

Bernie Sanders Surge Lead Story as Iowa Caucus Approaches

The day after the NFL season ends with the Super Bowl, primary voting season begins with the Iowa Caucus. One winner-take-all, cutthroat competition that captivates Americans nation wide replaces another. The Iowa Caucus, a two rounds of voting exercise which is not a secret ballot, takes place in all 99 of the state’s counties at 1,678 different precinct locations, some of which even include people’s homes.

In what was felt like the longest presidential campaign ever, its arrival conveys to us that election night in November isn’t actually all that far off. The Democratic field, so overwhelmingly large that it’s served as comedic fodder, is now whittled down. While a decently high number of candidates officially remain in the competition, we’re really just down to the core four (former Vice President Joe Biden, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders) and late entry/former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

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So who is the leading contender as Iowa rapidly approaches? Looking at Sports Betting Dime´s Democratic nominee odds, you will find Biden holding strong as the favorite at +192, but the surging Sanders isn’t far behind at +233. It then goes Bloomberg, Warren and Buttigieg.

However, the real story here is Sanders, whose campaign was in serious peril just a few months ago The Real Clear Politics average of recent polls in Iowa shows Sanders leading the field at 23.8%, with Biden next at 20.2%, followed by Buttigieg at nearly 16%, Warren at just below 14%. Bloomberg is way down in ninth place at just 1%. Also, the paper of record in the state, the Des Moines Register, has a poll showing him in first place for the first time.

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He also has tremendous advantages over the other candidates, having campaigned in Iowa previously.

Then there’s the fundraising- indeed Bernie Bros. are putting their money where their mouth is. Sanders raised $96 million last year from more than 1 million different donors and over 4 million individual grassroots contributions. That’s record breaking!

 According to the New York Times, he raised $34.5 million in the last three months of 2019, with December raking in  900,000 donations that totaled more than $18 million. The Bernie “Stans” (someone who is a die-hard fan, no matter what, a term derived from Eminem’s 2000 hit song of the same name) may polarize people, especially on social media, but they really do donate to their candidate. 

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Warren had been showing true front-runner momentum for much of 2019, but now she’s getting surpassed on both flanks. In the further left wing of the party, voters are feeling the Bern, no doubt helped by the endorsement he picked up from Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the face of the party’s new hard progressivism. Meanwhile Biden keeps holding down the line, ahead of Amy Klobuchar, among the party’s moderates.

Bloomberg is simply trying to buy his way into relevance, as his ad spending is about as aggressive as you’ll ever see. He even spent over $10 million on a 60 second ad for the Super Bowl. While he probably won’t make the cut in the end, it’s a good thing that 

It’s ironic that the lone Midwesterner, whose been overly playing up the “I’m from the heartland” angle, Mayor Pete, is in trouble in Iowa. He’s been under attack from all sides, with many detractors questioning his everyday guy credibility.

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Some of it was warranted (he’s from the basketball crazy state of Indiana and he used “field” instead of “court” when discussing the Kobe Bryant tragedy), and some of it was not (we all heard way too much about his wine cave, an irrelevant topic). However, it’s an achievement in and of itself that he’s moved from long shot at best, to a seat at the main table now.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, the author of “No,  I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” regularly appears on WGN CLTV and co-hosts the “Let’s Get Weird, Sports” podcast on SB Nation

You can follow Banks, a former writer for NBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com on Twitter here and his cat on Instagram at this link.

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