Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) came out against Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden this weekend, saying it’s “very clear” that he’s the wrong choice to take on US President Donald Trump in next year’s election, reported The Guardian.
The Minnesota congresswoman gave a keynote speech at the Iowa People’s Presidential Forum on Saturday, where she demanded “a president who realises we are not just fighting for one election, we are fighting for the very soul of our democracy and what society we want to become.”
Asked by The Guardian if Biden could be that candidate, Omar responded by saying:
“There are few people who fit into the kind of progress that we all want to see in this country. And I would say he is not one of them. I think it has been very clear to many of the people who have been creating the kind of movement that is exciting generations, that we want somebody who really has a plan that is going to tackle a lot of the systematic challenges that we have, and he doesn’t.”
The event hosted four candidates, including Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, frontrunners in the state that will hold the first nomination ballot on 3 February next year.
Former vice-president Joe Biden was conspicuously absent, as Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement Action, the forum organiser, declined to invite him after his campaign failed to respond to a questionnaire.
Asked about Biden’s absence, former housing secretary and presidential hopeful Julián Castro told the Guardian:
“I’ll just say that if we’re going to win this election in 2020, it’s going to be because we excite people, and we can’t excite them if we don’t show up for them.”
Most polls show Biden leading his Democratic rivals in next year’s primaries. However, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) has been gaining momentum; one poll out this weekend had her leapfrogging ahead of Biden in Iowa.
The latest Des Moines Register/CNN/Mediacom Iowa Poll, released Saturday night, puts Warren’s support among registered Democrats in Iowa at 22 per cent, just ahead of Biden’s 20 per cent.
There had been upward momentum by Warren but it remains to be seen whether she will be able to maintain or build on these numbers.
“This is the first major shakeup,” longtime pollster J. Ann Selzer, president of Selzer & Co., which conducted the poll, was quoted as saying.
“It’s the first time we’ve had someone other than Joe Biden at the top of the leader board.”
The race is far from settled, as just one in five likely Democratic caucusgoers say their minds are made up, while 63% say they could still be persuaded to support a different candidate.
Iowa’s 3 February caucus will be the first contest of the 2020 season followed by New Hampshire’s 2020 primary vote on 11 February.