Tag Archives: democratic party

A Candidate Frenzy in Siouxland, Democratic Hopefuls Make their Pitch

8 Jan

Former vice-president and 2020 presidential Democratic candidate hopeful JOE BIDEN begins his 18-stop “No Marlarkey Bus Tour” at the Biden campaign office in downtown Council Bluffs, Iowa, and will campaign in western Iowa after the Thanksgiving holiday Saturday, Nov. 30, 2019.

With the new year beginning here in Siouxland as it is elsewhere, every four years the state of Iowa is blessed in being the first in the nation with its political caucus involving presidential politics. With less than four weeks remaining to make their pitch to the residents of Iowa why they should become a party’s nominee 2020 presidential Democratic candidate hopefuls are crisscrossing the state and Siouxland itself in making yet another pitch. This happened in 2015 with a large Republican field. And it’s a point of pride with Iowans that they are able to get some personal face time with national candidates wanting to tell their stories and why they should be selected to serve.

U.S. Sen. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN) and 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful waves to people who waited the better part of an hour as her campaign schedule ran behind while trying to campaign in a number of Iowa counties before stopping at a small winery in Ida Grove, Iowa Sunday, Dec. 22, 2019 after the most recent Democratic presidential debate held in December. Klobuchar is making a three-day 27 county bus tour through Iowa.


Entrepreneur and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate hopeful ANDREW YANG, center, gives a thumbs up for a supporter’s selfie as a CNN camera person does a sound check for a live broadcast interview at Yang’s campaign office in Sioux City, Iowa Saturday, Nov. 23, 2019.

Retail politics demand that candidates spend time with possible future constituents. It’s still a bit of a norm in the day and age of social media and the internet where everything is uploaded to and shared with the world. Depending on one’s definition of world, being a community, state, nation or a select sphere of people who believe in the same norms and policies.

Former Congressman JOHN DELANEY (D-MD), left, and 2020 presidential Democrat nominee hopeful campaigns during a breakfast stop at the Horizons Restaurant in Sioux City, Iowa Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020.


U.S. Sen MICHAEL BENNET(D-CO), left, and 2020 presidential hopeful campaigns at a local brewery in downtown Sioux City, Iowa Saturday evening, Nov. 8, 2019.

Ans for all the caterwauling that other states and pundits make about Iowa getting a personal and up close look at potential candidates,  people in Iowa take the challenge and responsibility seriously. Asking tough questions about how and why a particular candidate might be worthy of their support. Unlike attendance at large “big-city” rallies or high end dollar fund raisers and dinners, the people meeting these potential Presidential persons are moms, small business owners, folk who live in a rural setting most often and in communities on average no larger than 3-5,000 people, and many times maybe only 1,200 people who live in a small town. They represent a microcosm of American life with all the ills of a larger society but often times without the benefit that is afforded to larger communities because “rich” people don’t live there and individually these folk have no sway or lobbying power than the more “affluent” try to affect to curry favor.

U.S. Sen. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-PA) and 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful campaigns at the Woodrow Wilson Junior High School gymnasium in Council Bluffs, Iowa Sunday, Dec. 29, 2019. All candidates are in a push to visit the state of Iowa with roughly one month left before the Iowa caucus event, Feb. 3, 2020.


Businessman and investor TOM STEYER and 2020 presidential Democrat nominee hopeful campaigns at the Sioux City Convention Center in Sioux City, Iowa Thursday, Jan. 2, 2020.


South Bend, IN, Mayor PETE BUTTIGIEG, and 2020 presidential Democratic nomination hopeful, listens to a woman’s issue dealing with Social Security as he meets Iowa voters in an intimate setting at Cronk’s Cafe in Denison, Iowa Nov. 26, 2019.

The people only have their own dreams and dreams for the children to have a better life. A hope maybe that their children might pursue some kind of career that would keep them nearer home and not have to move away to a larger city to pursue work options and make enough money to survive, get married and start a family on their own. So the folk of these small Siouxland and other communities in Iowa feel they have a vested interest in being picky about who might represent them and others like them in the next election. And not all candidates make the cut, some falling by the wayside between the start of their campaigning in ernest and and their failing in having the funding to continue. But most try. And I find it interesting that since 2015 and the large Republican field then with the large showing of Democratic hopefuls this election cycle, running for the highest office in the nation seems to have become a bit more democratic in and of itself. Candidates can survive for a period of time on smaller donations and not just being bankrolled by wealthy individuals and corporations and others who more than likely have a more selfish interest in who gets elected. And so it goes, until Feb. 3 in Iowa, when everyone gets together in their local caucus and chooses who they would like this time to represent themselves and the candidates go forth hoping they will become the chosen one.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

U.S. Sen. CORY BOOKER (D-NJ) and 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful laughs along with the audience during an introduction as he campaigns iat The Fruited Plain Cafe in Sioux Center, Iowa Saturday, Dec. 21 2019 after the most recent Democratic presidential debate held in December.


Former San Antonio mayor and secretary of Housing and Urban Development, 2020 Democratic presidential candidate hopeful JULIAN CASTRO speaks on the campus of Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa Sunday, Nov. 24, 2019 as he campaigns in western Iowa.

Siouxland’s political season line up, Indianola

26 Sep

This week Iowa became one of many states that allows early voting before an election. The mid-term 2014 election is mostly local and state candidates, although there is always Congressional districts that sometimes become of interest nationally. This year there is again a race between Iowa’s fourth district Congr. Steve King (R-Iowa) who often times says outlandish things, creates tension with his remarks, but is never seen trying to work out a solution. He is a flash point both in Iowa politics between Republicans and Democrats and nationally, a darling for the Tea Party and conservative talk show hosts.

Then there is the open seat that retiring U.S. Sen.Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) is leaving and there is a contentious battle between the Republican party and the Democratic party. I attended for the first time, and probably last time, the Tom Harkin Steak Fry held in his home town of Indianola, Iowa. I say the last time because with his retirement, the steak fry event will probably cease. This year’s special guests included all of the the state and national Democratic candidates running for office, as well as Pres. Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. With these two attending, one knew that the political season is underway in no small order and with the Nov. 4, 2014 election just around the corner, one knew the 2016 presidential election is not far off, even with a couple of intervening years. One can only wait and see what transpires between this upcoming mid-term election and the next presidential election when the candidate field could be wide open.

Photographing President Barack Obama

2 Sep

This past Saturday I had the honor of photographing the arrival and departure of President Barack Obama at the Sioux Gateway Airport for the Associated Press. I use the word honor, because the opportunity to photograph a sitting President is always an honor. President Obama is not my first President. In college I photographed then Gov. Ronald Reagan who flew into Peoria, IL, to visit his alma mater, Eureka College. I remember it was a cold day and these nice gentlemen wearing sunglasses came up behind me and the reporter for the college newspaper we worked for and asked that we keep our hands in plain sight, cold or not. Later I photographer President Herbert Walker Bush (Bush 1) when he came to Midland, TX in the 80’s to talk with those people responsible for saving Jessica McClure, the little girl who fell down the well in her backyard. While in Midland, I also photographed a gentleman who later would become president, President George W. Bush, while he was running his oil business in West Texas.

While working in California, I was lucky enough to photograph then President Ronald Reagan and his fellow presidents at the opening of his presidential museum in Simi Valley, CA,while doing some work for the Los Angeles Times. I even got to photograph Margaret Thatcher who came to visit him and his wife, Nancy, after they were both out of office. Later in northern California I photographed Vice President Al Gore while he was campaigning against George W. Bush, and then later photographed President Bush and Vice President Cheney while they campaigned in Sioux City when I was formerly working for the Journal. I also photographed President Bill Clinton when he was stumping for his wife, Hillary, during her run for the Democratic nomination in 2008.

I have been lucky to meet and see other candidates running for the office of President in the past, and recently during the Republican campaigns here in Iowa. This is a lucky state in that people can get that close up and personal view of people and listen to what they have to promise and be a part of history, no matter how it turns out.

I also got to see White House photographer Pete Souza work. He formerly worked for the Chicago Tribune and is a quality photographer who is documenting President Obama‘s time in office. Mr. Souza has talked about the challenges and rewards about photographing a president and then displaying those photos for citizens of this country to see. A PBS video examines photographers documenting the lives of the presidents while in office. No matter the politics, the office of the President of the United States is awe inspiring, and children today still dream about maybe being that one person who will be president one day.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

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