Joe Biden’s campaign on Tuesday said Iowa is not a must-win state on the former vice president’s path to the Democratic presidential nomination and signaled that the campaign is already “ramping up” its Super Tuesday efforts.
“Do I think we have to win Iowa? No,” a senior adviser told campaign reporters Tuesday in a background briefing. The adviser said Iowa, which holds the first nominating contest in the nation, will be “critical.”
“We think we’re going to win. We think it’s going to be a dogfight. … But we think there are several candidates in this field, there’s probably three or four, that are going to go awhile.”
Specifically, Biden’s campaign mentioned Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, California Sen. Kamala Harris, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker and Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana.
Biden advisers have said they’ve laid the groundwork in early voting states but “are now ramping up for Super Tuesday and beyond,” and they have no expectation other top-tier candidates will leave the race after the first contests.
“We feel we are going to be in a very dominant spot,” after the first four early states, another adviser said.
Still, the campaign downplayed expectations in first-in-the-nation Iowa as well as in the first primary state, New Hampshire, which borders the home states of Warren and Sanders.
“As you all know, historically, there’s an incredible home field advantage for a Massachusetts candidate or a New Englander,” an adviser said.
Campaign advisers underscored Biden’s lead in the polls and argued he holds the “broadest reach” of the competitors in the 2020 field, and they repeatedly emphasized how he leads with whites, blacks and Hispanics.
Advisers also said that, looking beyond the four early nominating states and the Super Tuesday contests, Biden has the best chance of winning Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan in the general election. An adviser then mentioned that the nation’s biggest swing state, Florida, is “always in the mix” and then mused about chances of winning in Arizona, Georgia and North Carolina, only to add Texas as more of an afterthought.
Campaign advisers sounded a defensive note about news coverage of Biden’s misstatements and gaffes as well as the “complete nonsense” of the 76-year-old Biden being out of step with the party. Instead, an adviser noted, Biden has the broadest multiracial base of support and that he’s most in line with Democratic voters, despite the carping heard on social media.
“The Democratic Party is not Twitter,” the adviser said.