DES MOINES, Iowa — The influential Iowa political couple Sue and Bob Dvorsky announced their endorsement on Saturday of California Sen. Kamala Harris for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.
The endorsement comes just hours before Harris speaks at the Iowa State Fair and midway through her first statewide bus trip across Iowa.
The couple has been influential for decades in Johnson County, a liberal stronghold that’s home to the University of Iowa and one of the state’s most important counties for Democrats.
“I think she’s the one — the one who is best equipped to bring together the coalitions and bring together our base,” Sue Dvorsky told CNN in an interview. “Before you begin to reach out to those folks who are undecided, you have to energize your own base. Our base is young, female, they’re people of color and they live all across the country. … She is the person who can excite that.”
Political endorsements make for good headlines for campaigns, especially in the middle of a busy weekend where nearly all the candidates are in Iowa.
But the Dvorsky endorsement may matter less for the immediate headline than what the couple could offer — organizational guidance in the first-in-the-nation caucus state.
Bob Dvorsky is a former state senator and his wife, Sue, served as Iowa Democratic Party Chair. Sue Dvorsky is well-known in Democratic circles for her knowledge of the state caucus process and is considered a key influencer in the delegate-rich precincts of Johnson County.
The Dvorskys were early backers of Barack Obama in 2007, helping him win the Iowa caucuses, in an upset over then-front-runner Hillary Clinton. Sue Dvorsky went on to serve as the Johnson County co-chair for the Obama campaign.
In the 2016 cycle, the Dvorskys supported Hillary Clinton.
Sue Dvorsky said she’s met with most of the 2020 Democrats and that she’s known former Vice President Joe Biden, the front-runner, for years.
“It is hard to overstate our personal affection for that man,” she said.
But when asked about the belief that Biden is the person who can best defeat President Donald Trump, Dvorsky said she would not “make my choice based on fear.”
“I will not be driven by this man’s (Trump) fear, I will not!” she said. “He is banking on us being afraid. I will be damned if I make my choice based on him. We’re the Democratic party, for god’s sake, and we will not be driven to our knees by this man’s attempt to villainize our neighbors.”
“He doesn’t scare me. He doesn’t scare her. We elect who we elect.”
Harris has renewed her focus on Iowa, rolling out a six-figure ad buy on Thursday. The ad, airing on television and in digital media, is running as Harris crosses the state in what her campaign is calling a river-to-river, multi-city trip across Iowa.