SIOUX CITY -- The coldest weather in Siouxland in years, which the National Weather Service called life-threatening, didn't prevent Democratic presidential candidate John Delaney from opening a campaign office in Sioux City on Wednesday.
Delaney said the Polar Vortex churned out bracing weather, after city temperatures dove overnight to 20 degrees below zero and far colder with severe wind chill factors. In a Journal interview, Delaney said western Iowa conditions "didn't feel as cold as I expected it to," plus he keeps his set plans to campaign in all areas of Iowa.
"You can't be a fair weather campaigner. I always say Democrats should campaign everywhere, and I guess -- slash -- in all conditions. That my new amendment to that expression," he said.
A former congressman from Maryland, Delaney has campaigned both the earliest and the most in Iowa, including Siouxland events, of any Democratic candidates. While 2019 has seen city appearances by likely candidates Elizabeth Warren and Kirsten Gillibrand in January, Delaney got moving in fall 2017 through Iowa, with 20 campaign swings by the end of 2018.
Delaney said over his 15 months as a candidate, the national chief issues have changed. The prime issue people are talking about is the Mexican border wall for which Republican President Donald Trump sought $5 billion, and which led to a month-long partial government shutdown through last week. He said a wall barrier is a Trump "vanity project" that should not be built.
Delaney said health care improvements remain a chief issue for Iowans. The congressman said he's highly concerned with rural community vitality, since many struggle to have flourishing business environments.
Delaney said one plan to address that would require one-fourth of federal contractors to have half of their workers hailing from distressed areas. He also wants to double the amount of the Earned Income Tax Credit received by people living in distressed areas.
Delaney said being first Democrat to work through Iowa in grassroots fashion will pay dividends, in a field he envisions could run from 10 to 15 presidential candidates.
"I have the right vision for the country, but not enough people knew who I was or still know who I am. The reason I got in early was, I basically had to run a pre-race, before everyone else got in the race, so I could be in the race," he said.
Delaney said Democrats who choose to fly into Des Moines and not campaign broadly in the state will be making a "mistake," since they won't be making deeper connections with voters necessary to win the February 2019 Iowa caucuses.
His office is at 831 Gordon Drive, and marks his sixth campaign office in Iowa, with another one opened Wednesday in Council Bluffs, right before the Sioux City event.
Two other Democrats will campaign in the city over the next two weeks, with entrepreneur Andrew Yang on Friday and U.S. Rep. Eric Swalwell on Feb. 16.