DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Liberal activists eager to draft Sen. Elizabeth Warren into a run for president are working the ground in Iowa, the pivotal early-voting state where an organizing effort is already in place — for Hillary Rodham Clinton.
MoveOn.org held a meeting Wednesday evening in Des Moines as part of its new "Run Warren Run" campaign. The group is trying to persuade Warren to seek the Democratic nomination in 2016, even though the Massachusetts senator has repeatedly said she is not running.
"Elizabeth Warren has been fighting tirelessly against the Wall Street lobbyists, against the special interests," Ilya Sheyman, executive director of MoveOn.org Political Action, told more than 75 people at a downtown coffee shop. "This is our moment to stand up and fight for her."
The Iowa event was the group's first organizing meeting, and there will be a similar event in New Hampshire in January. The campaign is seeking staffers in both states and trying to build volunteer and donor support. Another grassroots group, Ready for Warren, has made a number of visits to Iowa since the summer.
MoveOn plans to spend $1 million on its Warren effort. Another liberal group, Democracy for America, said Wednesday it will join the campaign and pledged $250,000.
Such work has been underway for much longer on behalf of Clinton, who is expected to run but has not announced a decision.
Ready for Hillary, which has no formal ties to Clinton, held its first Iowa meeting in January and has spent months appearing at party functions, holding house parties and recruiting volunteers, said the group's Midwest organizing director, Derek Eadon.
Enthusiastic crowds greeted Warren in Iowa in October when she came for Bruce Braley's lagging Senate campaign and delivered vigorous speeches on income inequality and economic reforms.
Jenni Scott, 49, a Democrat from Des Moines, came to the Wednesday event and said she liked Warren because "she's not going to sell out to Wall Street."
Warren insists whenever she is asked that she is "not running for president." And that, said Brad Anderson, a Democratic consultant who served as state director for President Barack Obama in 2012, is noticed in Iowa.
"Anecdotally, socially and at holiday parties, Iowans are talking about people who have actually expressed an interest in running for the president," said Anderson.