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2020 Democratic Steak Fry separates top tier and rest of field

Tyler Pager and Misyrlena Egkolfopoulou, Bloomberg News on

Published in News & Features

DES MOINES, Iowa -- The state of the 2020 race played out Saturday at the Polk County Steak Fry in Iowa.

Joe Biden, the Democratic frontrunner, was mobbed by voters and reporters as he marched with supporters behind a firetruck that was accompanied by a drumline.

Elizabeth Warren was greeted on the main stage by thousands of her signature "liberty green"-colored signs and chants of "two cents" in support of her proposed 2% tax on the assets of people worth $50 million or more.

Pete Buttigieg, standing in front of the bus he will ride across the state, addressed hordes of supporters in new, yellow "Pete for Iowa" shirts. Bernie Sanders, who consistently polls second or third in the race, spoke but had a limited presence.

Biden's mob weaved past a small gaggle of voters around Kamala Harris. The only people trailing Cory Booker were reporters who wanted to ask more about his statements earlier Saturday suggesting he might drop out in the coming weeks.

The Steak Fry, a signature event on the Democrat's calendar, featured all the hallmarks of Iowa politicking: candidates grilling steaks, posing for selfies and marching with supporters. The 18 candidates each also spoke for about 10 minutes, mostly abbreviated takes on their stump speeches.


But with more than 12,000 Democrats there, all signs pointed to a tightening top tier of candidates, and those below that signaled they were shifting gears in what could be last-ditch efforts to keep their campaigns afloat.

Buttigieg, who has so far been unable to match his fundraising prowess with polling success, had more than 1,000 supporters across the sprawling park grounds.

Booker and Harris, on the other hand, used the Steak Fry to indicate they were shifting gears.

Booker's campaign announced Saturday it needed to raise $1.7 million in the next 10 days or the campaign would have to make some "tough decisions."


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