Here’s everything you need to know about what the campaigns are doing on Sunday and their strategies to sway as many voters as possible before the caucuses begin Monday night.
POLITICO reporters are spread out across Iowa following the top candidates — so check back throughout the day as we update this story with key moments and new developments on the campaign trail.
Sunday’s campaigning will conclude Biden’s big cross-state Iowa swing ahead of the caucuses, which he’s going into as a co-frontrunner. Biden starts the morning in Dubuque and ends with an early evening rally in Des Moines (timed, somehow, to partially coincide with the Super Bowl).
Saturday marked some relatively larger crowds for Biden in Cedar Rapids and Waterloo. He’s never managed to draw the kind of huge turnout that his three top rivals have seen (especially Sanders), even though he’s won major local and congressional endorsements. But in Cedar Rapids, firefighters union chief Harold Schaitberger tossed T-shirts into the crowd, firing up the attendees before Biden took center stage inside a school gymnasium. Curiously, Biden took the first several minutes to highlight his friendship with several officials from outside of Iowa, including Delaware and Massachusetts, giving the rally the slight feel of a retirement tour.
Biden’s remarks seemed disjointed and went on at length. But he struck a chord in attacking President Donald Trump’s decisions domestically and overseas. At one point, Biden told the crowd he refused to bow to Vladimir Putin, winning him an extended standing ovation.
Buttigieg will appear on five Sunday shows and a pair of Iowa rallies the day before the caucuses. But the driving conversation on those shows and at those events will be the poll that never was.
On Saturday, Buttigieg’s campaign raised serious concerns with the Des Moines Register, CNN and Mediacom about their much-awaited final poll of Iowa, after a surveyed participant told the campaign that Buttigieg’s name was not included in the poll. The media outlets canceled the poll release altogether, robbing observers — and the campaign itself — of a final closing-days barometer of the Democratic race.
Buttigieg’s Sunday show blitz is a big bet on the medium that helped launch his presidential hopes in earnest, when he was a constant presence on cable news early last year. And on the ground, he’s hitting two high-density, largely suburban areas with his rallies in Coralville, a suburb outside of Iowa City, and Des Moines. Those places represent the type of demographics in which Buttigieg performs best.
Expect many, many questions about what happened with that poll as Buttigieg tries to deliver a closing message focused on his electability.
Is there “Klomentum?” We’re about to find out. Klobuchar packed a women’s club in Cedar Falls, Iowa Saturday evening, her first full day back on the trail after being stuck in Washington most of the week.
The “number one” thing that “unites” everyone, Klobuchar said Saturday, is “beating Donald Trump.” After a winding speech that covered the impeachment trial, farmers, and climate change, Klobuchar ended on her final, central pitch: electability.
“I have won in the most rural district, including the one bordering Iowa,” Klobuchar said, “And I have won in Michele Bachmann’s district every single time,” she continued, referencing the former Republican congresswoman who ran for president in 2012.
Klobuchar is set to wrap up the final day before caucusing starts with “get out the caucus” events in Cedar Rapids and Mason City. She ends Sunday at a Super Bowl watch party in Johnston.
Sanders is spending his last day on the pre-caucus campaign trail doing meet-and-greets at his field offices in Cedar Rapids, Iowa City and Newton, as well as dropping in on a Super Bowl watch party in Des Moines.
The Sunday events have a lower-key vibe after Sanders’ campaign said 3,000 people attended his concert event with Vampire Weekend Saturday night, which the campaign is calling “the largest rally any presidential candidate has held in Iowa this cycle.” Sanders has no events scheduled today approaching that scale, wanting that high note of excitement — and the huge crowd — to be the closing image in caucusgoers’ minds before the big day.
Sanders will be joined at various events Sunday by prominent endorsers, including Rep. Mark Pocan, the co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, and campaign co-chairs Turner and Rep. Ro Khanna.
One day more. After more than a year of campaigning and 117 events in Iowa, voters will finally deliver judgment on whether Warren is the best Democrat to face Donald Trump in November. Warren will spend her last day before the caucuses holding two rallies, in Indianola and Ames, and her surrogates will spread across the state to rally door knockers and organizers to push through the finish line. Rather than trying to hold a rally during the Super Bowl, Warren will stop by at least one watch party in Des Moines hosted by Progress Iowa.
Warren is sticking to big population centers near Des Moines today rather than venturing to the far, rural corners of the state, like some of the other candidates are doing. Warren sees her path to victory running through these voters, who are more likely to be college-educated, closer to the cities.
Warren changed up her stump speech a bit Saturday for her near-final pitch to voters. She focused on uniting the Democratic Party going into November and paid homage to Democrats who are no longer in the race, including Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, and Steve Bullock.
“I’ve been building a campaign from the beginning that is not a campaign that’s narrow, not a campaign that says it’s us and nobody else,” Warren said Saturday in Cedar Rapids. “It’s a campaign that says come on in because we are in this fight together.”
That argument is part of a larger effort to address voters’ concerns about Warren’s electability. The campaign has been furiously trying to convince voters that Warren can win, with several of Warren’s closing television and digital ads casting her as a way to bridge the remaining divides between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders supporters. At a canvass kickoff Saturday, Warren stood in front of new placards that read “Unite the Party.”