DECORAH, Iowa – With the sprint to the finish on in the final days before the critical Iowa caucuses Monday, why are Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton leaving the state this week?
After holding an event Tuesday morning in Des Moines, Sanders is spending the rest of the day in Minnesota, where he’s holding two rallies. Clinton, meanwhile, will travel back to the East Coast Wednesday afternoon for fundraisers.
The reasons for the departures speak to the different approaches each campaign is taking.
Sanders’ campaign is trying to build a sense of enthusiasm for their candidate in part by highlighting the large crowds that come out to see him. In Saint Paul, the Minnesota capital and home to many college campuses, a whopping 15,000 people are expected to see Sanders Tuesday. He’ll return to Iowa Wednesday.
News of the rally will spill across the southern border to Iowa, where local news is devoting major attention to the presidential race. The coverage could help contribute to the sense of energy around his campaign.
Minnesota is also one of 11 states to hold nominating contests on “Super Tuesday,” March 1. And it’s one where Sanders’ campaign feels their candidate can perform well, in part thanks to its caucus format.
“Bernie will be talking to thousands of voters,” campaign manager Jeff Weaver told MSNBC.
Meanwhile, Clinton’s campaign is fueled by the money she collects at high-dollar fundraisers, and the cash flow can’t stop just because of the caucuses. Clinton has kept a consistent fundraising clip during her entire 2016 run, headlining 58 fundraisers each financial quarter since she entered the race in April, according to a CNN analysis.
The Clinton campaign, which did not comment for the record for this story, seemed to recognize that spending an entire day outside of Iowa would not look good and rescheduled a fundraiser to accommodate a full afternoon of events Thursday.
And the campaign added an event for Bill Clinton Wednesday night to pinch hit for his wife while she’s out of the state. The former president will also have a full slate of events Thursday.