The Potluck

Klobuchar’s Iowa showing tops past Minnesotan presidential hopefuls

By: - February 5, 2020 2:07 pm
Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) speaks during the Democratic presidential primary debate on Dec. 19, 2019 in Los Angeles, California.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – DECEMBER 19: Democratic presidential candidatte Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) speaks during the Democratic presidential primary debate at Loyola Marymount University on December 19, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. Seven candidates out of the crowded field qualified for the 6th and last Democratic presidential primary debate of 2019 hosted by PBS NewsHour and Politico. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Minnesota’s U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar may have finished fifth in Iowa’s caucuses, but she still has bragging rights among Minnesotan presidential candidates.

The senator is the fifth Minnesotan presidential candidate to compete in the Iowa caucuses since 1972. With the exception of Walter Mondale, all have placed last or second-to-last in the caucuses, according to results from the Des Moines Register.

Klobuchar is on track to continue the legacy of her Minnesotan forebears with a shaky Iowa showing. Partial results reported Wednesday show she’s likely to finish fifth, behind former South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Bernie Sanders, Sen. Elizabeth Warren and former Vice President Joe Biden. But with 12.5% of caucus-goers’ votes, her performance still surpasses several of her predecessors’ single-digit finishes.

In 1972, Hubert Humphrey and Eugene McCarthy took fifth and sixth places in Iowa respectively, each winning less than 2% of the vote. Humphrey returned to the U.S. Senate. McCarthy went on to campaign for the U.S. Senate in 1982 and again for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1992 without much success.

Mondale, of course, finished first in 1984 and became the Democratic presidential nominee. He lost in a landslide to President Ronald Reagan but still managed to carry Minnesota.

Michele Bachmann won 5% of the vote in Iowa in 2012, earning her sixth place. She dropped out of the race shortly thereafter. Former Gov. Tim Pawlenty also ran for president in 2012 but dropped out before Iowa.

Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.

Rilyn Eischens
Rilyn Eischens

Rilyn Eischens is a data reporter with the Reformer. Rilyn was born and raised in Minnesota and has worked in newsrooms in the Twin Cities, Iowa, Texas and most recently Virginia, where she covered education for The Staunton News Leader. She's an alumna of the Dow Jones News Fund data journalism program and the Minnesota Daily. When Rilyn isn't in the newsroom, she likes to read, add to her plant collection and try new recipes.