Democratic official sees Steyer with early on-the-ground 'advantage' in Iowa

A top Iowa Democratic Party official said Monday that 2020 presidential candidate Tom SteyerThomas (Tom) Fahr SteyerCastro hits fundraising threshold for December debate The Hill's 12:30 Report: Pelosi says House will move forward with impeachment Booker: Primary voters 'being denied' their candidates of choice MORE has an advantage in the state thanks to his name recognition and ties to various grassroots organizations.

“Tom Steyer starts with a little bit of an advantage in that he’s had organization on the ground here for a long time through NextGen,” Troy Price, who is chairman of the Iowa Democratic Party, told Hill.TV, referring to the billionaire philanthropist’s nonprofit environmental advocacy group, NextGen America.

“They organized on dozens of college campuses last couple of election cycles,” he added.

Price’s comments were in response to a recent Monmouth University poll, which found Steyer with 3 percent support among likely Democratic caucus goers in Iowa.

Steyer was among seven candidates notching 3 percent or higher in the polls. Price noted that the billionaire has strong name recognition in the state, but emphasized that it's still early in the race.

“He’s been through the state quite a few times — and he’s been up on TV for several months, maybe not always for a candidate for president but talking about impeachment,” he said. “People have had a chance to at least hear his name, hear a little bit about him but it’s still early in the process and we’ll see how it all plays out.”

The Monmouth poll also showed Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenTrump to hold campaign rally in Michigan Castro hits fundraising threshold for December debate Buttigieg: Harris 'deserves to be under anybody's consideration' for vice president MORE (D-Mass.) closing in on former Vice President Joe Biden in Iowa. Though Biden remains the front-runner with 28 percent support, Warren is now polling in second place with 19 percent support. That marks a significant gain for Warren from the 7 percent she carried in the same poll conducted in April.

Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisCastro hits fundraising threshold for December debate Poll: Majority of voters name TV as primary news source Buttigieg: Harris 'deserves to be under anybody's consideration' for vice president MORE (D-Calif.) came in third place with 11 percent support. Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersTrump to hold campaign rally in Michigan Castro hits fundraising threshold for December debate Buttigieg draws fresh scrutiny, attacks in sprint to Iowa MORE (I-Vt.), meanwhile, slid into fourth place with 9 percent support, which marked a 7-point drop from the previous poll.

The Iowa caucuses are still six months away, but several 2020 contenders are already making the rounds in the state to attract likely voters. Almost the entire Democratic field spoke at the Iowa State Fair, and the Iowa Democratic party’s annual Wing Ding dinner. Both events are considered essential campaign stops for presidential hopefuls.

Price told Hill.TV that even though front-runners like Warren and Sanders have drawn the biggest crowds, bottom-tier candidates like Sen. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerCastro hits fundraising threshold for December debate The Hill's 12:30 Report: Pelosi says House will move forward with impeachment Booker: Primary voters 'being denied' their candidates of choice MORE (D-N.J.) have also elicited a positive response. 

“Cory Booker had a very good response at both the Wing Ding and the state fair here,” he said. “Even some crowds here were spillover crowds for candidates that are polling at 1 percent in the polls.”

—Tess Bonn