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Top 2020 Democrats missing in Iowa but working backchannel

August 6, 2018

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa State Fair opens this week with none of the political celebrity typical of the late-summer festival in the leadoff presidential caucus state.

For now, top-tier Democratic prospects such as Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are largely steering clear of Iowa.

Some little-known White House hopefuls will be in Iowa this week, but the visit generating the most buzz is Michael Avenatti. The lawyer for the adult-film actress suing President Donald Trump is attending a state Democratic Party’s fundraiser.

Top party stars are largely focused on midterm elections in November, with hopes of winning control of at least one chamber of Congress.

Still, their absence surprises veteran Iowa activists and stokes, for the moment, perennial worries about the future of the small rural state’s early influence.

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