Sen. Sherrod Brown wrapped up the first stop on his "Dignity of Work" listening tour in Iowa over the weekend, almost exactly one year before the state holds one of the first major contests of the 2020 presidential campaign.
Clay Masters is a political reporter with Iowa Public Radio and says Brown's Midwestern roots helped him connect with potential voters a little better than some of the other, higher-profile Democrats who have visited the state recently.
“I was at an event with him on Friday where he was hosting a little roundtable with farmers. And he connects with Iowans a little more, kind of like other Iowans would. These people sitting around the table were concerned with the economics of agriculture [and] trade tariffs. And in rural Iowa – which Donald Trump did really well in – those are a lot of the issues.”
Masters adds that the listening tour is a somewhat “safe” way for Brown to both campaign and also gauge voter sentiment in preparation for a possible presidential run.
“He can stand on-stage and talk about the farmer that he met in Perry, Iowa, or the small business owner that he met in Dubuque. And talk about their stories and talk about messages that are going to resonate with people in the audience who will likely be impressed that he’s been in the state and meeting with them. And can talk about issues that are important to them.”
Brown is slated to visit Nevada, New Hampshire and South Carolina in the coming weeks. He says he'll announce next month whether he plans to run for president.