WATERLOO — Iowa Senate District 30 candidate Eric Giddens had some political star power campaign on his behalf in Waterloo on Saturday.
Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, former Texas Congressman Beto O’Rourke and former Maryland Congressman John Delaney were at the Black Hawk Democratic headquarters in downtown. They were stumping for Giddens, who’s running against Republican Walt Rogers in a Tuesday special election for a seat vacated by Democrat Jeff Danielsen.
On Sunday New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker will also campaign for Giddens in Waterloo.
It’s the right place and time for Giddens as Democratic presidential candidates are testing the waters in Iowa less than a year before the 2020 caucuses.
“It’s very exciting to have all these presidential candidates here,” said Vikki Brown, Black Hawk County Democratic chairperson.
O’Rourke was met by an excited crowd on the corner of Lafayette and East Fourth streets. The sun had come out and so had about 200 people.
“Regardless of the difference of party or race or geography, we cannot allow those differences to define us now at this defining moment of truth,” O’Rourke said as he stood in the back of red pickup truck.
O’Rourke focused on a range of issues, including immigration and climate change.
“It is on every single one of us to make sure that we squarely face the facts, own up to our responsibilities,” O’Rourke said.
He also encouraged people to vote for Giddens.
“His chance of prevailing in this election rests squarely with each of you,” O’Rourke said. “If you have not yet voted, the courthouse is right over here and I urge you to cast that ballot now. Do not wait for Election Day.”
After the rally, O’Rourke and Giddens went door to door in Waterloo. They came across Christen and Chase Everett and their dog, Axel Foley. Christen Everett is an O’Rourke supporter and was one of several people who was excited to see the Democrat duo.
“My heart started fluttering,” Christen Everett said. “It’s amazing. I’m really happy he’s here. ... I hope he gets the nomination. Anyone’s better than (President Donald) Trump at this point.”
Alexandria Diehl, a University of Northern Iowa student, also was excited to see Giddens and O’Rourke at her doorstep. “Hearing him announce his candidacy was really cool,” she said.
Earlier in the day, Klobuchar spoke to a crowd of Democratic supporters, addressing climate change and its impact in Minnesota and the Cedar Valley.
“There’s projections that we could see record flooding here,” she said. “We have to do two things — one is long-term policy changes getting into the International Climate Change agreement, but the other is adapting and making sure that we’re investing in our infrastructure.”
Klobuchar said the sense of community in the United States is crumbling.
“It’s fracturing because we have a president that tweets whatever he wants every single morning, that doesn’t respect the amendment that allows him to do it,” she said. “It’s fracturing because (Trump) literally tries to find divides where there don’t need to be divides. He tries to find divides where we should have unity, and that is not the Iowa way.”
Klobuchar also spoke about the recent mass shooting at two mosques in New Zealand that killed 50 people.
“You think about people who were sitting in that mosque; in this country we may look different, we may pray different, we may love different, but what unites is this shared belief in our dreams for America, and we don’t want to forget that,” Klobuchar said.
Rogers said he isn’t concerned about the presidential candidates campaigning for his opponent.
“It kind of energizes our base,” Rogers said. “I’ve got no problem with it; we’d be doing the same thing if it was us.”