Joe Biden has filled out his senior Iowa leadership team as polls show a competitive race in a state President Donald Trump won handily in 2016.
The Democratic nominee and former vice president announced Friday that Jesse Harris and Iowa state Rep. Ras Smith will serve as strategic advisers to the campaign, Ellen Goodmann Miller will be its deputy political director and Lanon Baccam will be its deputy state director.
Those four join Iowa state director Lauren Dillon, who directed U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s Iowa caucus campaign, and senior adviser Jackie Norris, a former president and CEO of Goodwill Industries of Central Iowa and director of Barack Obama’s 2008 Iowa general election campaign.
► More:Joe Biden’s Iowa hires signal tightening in state Trump won big
“We’re building a homegrown campaign of Iowans who not only understand the damage Trump has inflicted all across the state, but can mobilize voters who are ready to restore real leadership to the White House by electing Joe Biden,” Dillon said in a statement to the Des Moines Register.
Harris, who lives in Woodward, served as a senior adviser to Biden’s Iowa caucus campaign in 2019 and 2020. In 2008, he worked as the Iowa Democratic Party’s coordinated campaign director and then served as director of early voting and get out the vote for Obama’s general campaign in Iowa. He also has worked for former U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin and former Iowa Gov. Chet Culver.
Smith, a state representative from Waterloo who chairs the Iowa Legislative Black Caucus, championed and helped negotiate a law passed unanimously by the Iowa Legislature this year to ban most police chokeholds, address officer misconduct and require deescalation and implicit bias training for officers. He was named a rising star by the Iowa Democratic Party in 2019.
Goodmann Miller, of Dubuque, worked on Biden’s political team during the Iowa caucuses and previously was the Iowa state director of a Draft Biden PAC that aimed to recruit Biden into the 2016 presidential race. She also worked with Biden’s 2008 presidential campaign.
Baccam is a Mount Pleasant native, the son of refugees from Laos and a U.S. Army and Iowa National Guard veteran who has worked for several Democratic Iowa politicians. Baccam has worked for former U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin, former Gov. Chet Culver, former U.S. Reps. Leonard Boswell and Bruce Braley and then-Sen. Hillary Clinton. He currently works as a consultant on agriculture, veterans and political issues and lives in Des Moines.
Trump has long had Iowa staff on the ground, as did Biden during the caucus campaign.
Polling has shown a competitive race in Iowa, which Trump won by more than 9 points in 2016. A Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa Poll in June found Biden trailing Trump by just 1 percentage point, with Trump ahead 44% to 43%, within the poll’s margin of error of 3.8 percentage points.
On Sunday, Biden will be the keynote speaker for the Iowa Democratic Party’s annual Hall of Fame event, which will be held virtually. Last year, the event drew 19 Democratic presidential candidates, but not Biden, who missed the event to attend his granddaughter’s graduation.
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