In 2018, freshman Irvine congresswoman Katie Porter became the first Democrat to represent her Orange County district since the 1930s, and now the Iowa native is stumping across the Hawkeye state to convince her fellow Iowans that Senator Elizabeth Warren can use the same strategies to defeat Trump that she used to make inroads in a historically red part of Southern California.
The Warren campaign thinks a lot of Iowans would like to put Warren over the top on the February 3 caucuses, but that they also fear she couldn’t beat Trump in the general election. Now, Team Warren is hoping that Porter—an Iowa farm girl who went on to become Warren’s Harvard Law student and political protégé—can change that perception, the Los Angeles Times reports.
“I just offer you proof that you can win on the policies that you believe in, and that are authentic to you and your experience and that speak to your community, anywhere in the country,” she told a crowd in Iowa City.
In stump speeches, Porter talks about the time when the bank in her rural hometown of Winterset closed during the farm crisis of the 1980s, and she’s fond of showing off the house in Coralville where she lived as a University of Iowa law professor, and where a wooden fence she built stands to this day.
“She’s Orange County, Iowa,” Dan Newman, a Democratic strategist who worked on Porter’s 2018 campaign, told the Times. “There’s not a lot of Orange County, Iowa.”
When talking to voters, Porter isn’t shy about how close she is with Warren after nearly 20 years of friendship and mentorship.
“I should just disclose,” she told a breakfast gathering at a private home in Iowa City, “I have three children. None of them are named Joey, Peter, or Bernie. But I have a daughter named Elizabeth.”
Despite all the cozy, homespun campaigning, Porter is best known for the headlines she made last April when she torched billionaire JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon over unconscionable pay disparity at his company.
So it’s no wonder that aside from charming would-be voters, the Orange County rep can also be a tour de force when it comes to to bending the will of political fixers to her point of view. Kurt Meyer, the Democratic Party chair in three rural Iowa counties, was undecided as to which candidate he would back—until he had lunch with Porter.
“She was the closer,” Meyer admitted. “She was to make sure that Kurt Meyer understood in a profound way that the Elizabeth Warren team wants him to get off that picket fence he sits on somewhat uncomfortably and join Team Warren.”
Meyer announced his endorsement a week later.
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