MASON CITY, Iowa – On her second trip to this key presidential state Monday, Hillary Clinton will meet with local Democratic activists at the home of one of the first gay couples to marry in the state, according to a campaign aide.
Dean Genth and Gary Swenson are longtime activists who got married in 2009 on the first day same-sex unions became legal in the state. Both supported Barack Obama over Clinton during the 2008 caucus, but are now backing the former secretary of state.
They’ll be joined by other local Democratic activists as part of Clinton’s effort to show she’s heavily invested in grassroots organizing in the key presidential state, which gave her an embarrassing third-place finish during her first presidential run.
“#Hillary2016 is ramping up one person, one conversation, one community at a time,” her campaign tweeted Monday morning, encouraging followers to volunteer.
Genth is the vice chairman of the Cerro Gordo County Democratic Party and he and Swenson hosted 2014 Democratic Senate candidate Bruce Braley and others last year.
Clinton has leaned into LGBT rights since announcing her candidacy last month. Two gay couples appeared in her announcement video, and one of the first policy positions her campaign endorsed was to encourage the Supreme Court to affirm a constitutional right for same-sex marriage.
On Tuesday, Clinton will appear at a bike shop in Cedar Falls to discuss her vision for small businesses, another emerging theme of her campaign.
Clinton is hoping to focus on these messages in Iowa even as she’s taking heat from Republicans and the national media over her finances and lack of press access. On Friday, her campaign filed a personal disclosure report with the Federal Election Commission showing she and her husband made more than $30 million since January of 2014, mostly in speaking fees.
Iowa’s Republican Party wants to make sure Clinton cannot escape the pressure here, sending reporters a list of 10 questions they want answered on everything from her stance on the Trans-Pacific Partnership to her private email server.
“Hillary Clinton still refuses to answer simple questions about her unseemly financial dealings, secret email server, or disastrous foreign policy. Polls show Iowans already find Clinton untrustworthy and her actions have confirmed their suspicions,” state party chairman Jeff Kaufmann said.
This is Clinton’s second trip to Iowa since announcing her bid last month, and fourth since she lost the state’s 2008 caucus. On her first visit to Iowa of the campaign, she held roundtable discussions at a community college and a small business. Later this week, she will return to New Hampshire for her second campaign visit to the state which holds the first presidential primary.
All the events are part of the campaign’s “ramp up” phase, where Clinton is focusing on intimate events with small groups of voters. She will move to more high profile campaigning later this month or in early June.