A Democratic caucus source reports that Gore has committed to spending several days in the Midwest campaigning for House candidates. But as we reported earlier this month, he’s limiting his appearances and seems focused on helping friends, rather than the party as a whole.
Much of Gore’s quality time in the first caucus state of the 2004 presidential campaign will be spent on the hustings for John Norris, whose wife worked for Gore’s presidential run in 2000. He’ll also make brief appearances for several more candidates around the state.
Why Iowa? Now? Perhaps it’s because other potential presidential candidates have been spending lots of time and money there. Despite the perception that Rep. Dick Gephardt, given his Midwestern roots, should have the caucus in the bag, everyone from Sen. John Edwards to Sen. Tom Daschle to Vermont Gov. Howard Dean has been traveling the backroads of the state for months. And plunking down lots of cash.
Daschle alone has donated close to $30,000 of his own PAC’s money to Iowa Democrats and the party. Gephardt, too, has been campaigning heavily in the state, and Edwards paid the Iowa Democratic Party more than he had to for its mailing list. Dean has spent so much time there that rumor has it Vermont can no longer be considered his legal residence.
“He’s fallen way behind just about everyone here,” says an Iowa Democratic Party official of Gore. “If a caucus were held today, he’d probably still finish in the top three, but only because of name recognition. There is no well of affection for him as a candidate. By 2004, if others keep doing what they are doing, Gore might be surprised at how badly he has slipped.”p> EMPTY CHEERS br> On Friday, Senate Republican Leader Trent Lott
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