Welcome to a special edition of Hot Dish, the Star Tribune's weekday newsletter on all things Minnesota politics. We're publishing special editions through the weekend ahead of the Iowa caucuses. You can sign up for daily dispatches straight to your inbox at www.startribune.com/hotdishpolitics.
Just one day remains until the Iowa caucuses.
Your daily must-read is Pat Condon's new piece on the state of the race — and stakes — for Klobuchar heading into Monday.
I spent Saturday bouncing around Iowa the campaign, as Klobuchar made her closing argument to voters during a two-day barnstorming blitz. A 700-person crowd at a junior high gym in Beaverdale, the final stop of a whirlwind travel day, was the campaign's largest rally so far.
The events attracted a mix of Klobuchar superfans and caucusgoers still trying to make up their mind. Many I encountered were still deciding between Klobuchar and Joe Biden or Pete Buttigieg, i.e. the three moderates in the race (In the Quad Cities, we encountered an Illinois man who said he likes both Klobuchar and... Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, a libertarian-leaning Republican who is not running for president this year.)
The unprecedented last-second cancellation of the final Iowa Poll release (more on that drama here) means campaigns, pundits and caucusgoers themselves will enter Monday without a clear picture of who has (or hasn't) gained support in the stage of the campaign. That's significant given how many Iowa Democrats appear undecided just days out.
Seems a good showing in the poll could have helped Klobuchar, who's leaning heavily on arguments of electability and a late surge as she makes her closing case to caucusgoers. Reminder that she'll have to hit 15% support in most precincts to even rank in the final results. No publicly released polls have shown her doing that well here.
On Fox News Sunday, Klobuchar was asked if she needs to land in the top three to get a ticket out of Iowa:
"I literally don't put those kind of litmus tests," she said. "I think we have to do well. ... I'm going to New Hampshire no matter what."
Another sign of plans to continue to compete? An endorsement from California Rep. Linda Sanchez, whose backing could carry sway with Latino voters in Nevada and in California's Super Tuesday vote. I believe Sanchez is Klobuchar's first congressional endorsement outside the Minnesota delegation.
The Fox News Sunday interview also included some tough questioning on her role in the case against Myon Burrell, a black teen sentenced to life in prison for the 2002 fatal shooting 11-year-old Tyesha Edwards. Host Chris Wallace pressed Klobuchar repeatedly on whether she knew — or should have known — about questionable evidence and police tactics cited in a new AP report that raises doubts about Burrell's guilt. An excerpt from the exchange:
"Senator you're not answering my question: did you know about this questionable evidence?
"I didn't know about this new evidence, no I didn't know about this new evidence until she saw the report. I couldn't have. I haven't been in the office for 12 years."
Read more on the interview, and how Iowans are reacting to the case, here.
In other Iowa news, Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan was in a car accident Saturday night after leaving Klobuchar's rally in Beaverdale. A spokesman said Flanagan is okay and "back on the trail for Amy" today. Gov. Tim Walz is also out with the campaign today. Follow Jessie Van Berkel for updates from his stops.
In non-Iowa news, Sen. Susan Kent is the Senate DFL Caucus' new leader, ousting longtime leader Tom Bakk of Cook. You can read colleague Briana Bierschbach's dispatch on the vote here. We'll have more on reaction to the vote when we return to regular programming next week.
Thanks for reading! Tune in tomorrow for more pre-caucus coverage.