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Democrats make final appeals to Iowa voters ahead of Monday caucuses

Democrats make final appeals to Iowa voters ahead of Monday caucuses.

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Minnesota U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar made her final appeal to Iowans before Monday's first-in-the-nation presidential caucuses in Mason City, Iowa on Sunday, Feb. 2. Sarah Mearhoff / Forum News Service

DES MOINES — Snow melted into large puddles and campaign signs dotted the roadways as Democratic presidential candidates crisscrossed Iowa on Sunday, Feb. 2, to make their final appeals to voters set to cast their first-in-the-nation votes Monday.

Some focused on the perceived threat posed by four more years of a Trump presidency, while others assured voters that they had the qualities needed to make them electable on the national stage. And all urged Iowans to get out to caucus on Monday and to stand in their corner.

According to a  CBS News/YouGov poll released Sunday, Feb. 2,  former-Vice President Joe Biden and U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont are in a dead heat lead, both polling at 25% in the state. South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg was close behind at 21%, and U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts in fourth place at 16%. U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota polled fifth, with 5% support.

Klobuchar made her final push with Iowans Sunday afternoon in the north-central Iowa city of Mason City, where green campaign signs, American flags and star-shaped balloons were scattered throughout a reception hall when she took the stage.

Over the course of nearly 40 minutes, Klobuchar told Iowans about her Midwestern roots and humble beginnings, juxtaposed with President Donald Trump’s wealthy upbringing, and said she would serve middle Americans in ways he hasn’t.

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"The Midwest is not flyover country to me. I live here," she said. "And those farmers and workers (...) they are not poker chips in a bankrupt casino to me. They are my friends and they are my neighbors."

"The contrast between me and him couldn’t be greater," she said.

Meanwhile, 92 miles away in Ames, U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts posed for photos with dozens of children and their families, requesting pinky promises from the girls in an effort to remember the moment. She thanked hundreds of supporters in an Iowa State University ballroom for helping hone her slate of campaign proposals and in response to a question from an audience member, she said a woman could win the country's highest office.

"Women win," she said. "Let’s get this done."

Later, prospective voters packed into a Des Moines middle school gymnasium Monday evening to hear from Biden, the year "2020" illuminated on the basketball scoreboard above. He told voters he needed their help to clinch a win in the caucuses and to prove to Trump and other Republicans that Democrats are united behind a candidate.

"I respectfully suggest, not because I'm running but because the man who's president, you've never had a greater responsibility than you have today, no matter how many caucuses you've attended," Biden said. "We can't turn four years of Donald Trump into an aberration, a historical aberration, into eight years that would change the country in a way that we can't follow. We need you, we need you, we need you."

The three senators in the running for the Democratic nomination: Klobuchar, Warren and Sanders planned to meet with voters at Super Bowl watch parties and other gatherings Sunday night. They were set to return to the Capitol to attend the president's impeachment proceedings on Monday.

While some voters remained undecided going into the Monday caucus meetings, Ted Hansen, 54, said he planned to support Biden. The vehicle repossessor and city councilman from De Soto, said Biden was his first choice heading into the caucuses.

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"I like Joe. I remember seeing him when he ran back in '08 when I went to a library in Adell and I've always followed him," Hansen, a Des Moines native, said. "This is my town, this is where I'm from and I think Joe Biden has our values."

Jim Kuhlman, 82, of Mason City, said he has attempted to see each presidential candidate as they roll through town every caucus season since 1988. He did this year, too, but his mind was long made up before he saw Klobuchar on Sunday: she has had his vote since last year.

"She’s just so honest and sincere and bright and knowledgeable," Kuhlman said, "And she’s knowledgeable not just in one area of government, but she knows the farming situation. She knows education. She knows foreign services. She knows everything."

His wife, Ann Kuhlman, 76, also supports Klobuchar, saying she "has the maturity to know what she is doing and how to get things done."

"I think she would give us a practical plan and solve the problems, but not go so far that they create unintended consequences."

One thing all of the candidates could agree upon: the need to defeat Trump in November.

"This election is a patriotism check," Klobuchar told the teary-eyed Iowans. "A values check, a decency check."

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