But Bernie Sanders is always there. Garnering the largest crowds of the presidential race. Raising millions of dollars, more than nearly every other candidate of either party. And boasting a following that can only be described as intense.
Over the weekend, he received a raucous reception in the early nominating state of Iowa at the first joint appearance of the Democratic candidates, with supporters banging their fists on the table, clinking silverware against glasses and interrupting him with their enthusiasm. “Preach!” shouted one woman.
Clinton still boasts the highest poll numbers and a record amount of money raised. Now the surprising popularity of Sanders, the 73-year-old self-described socialist who relishes being a champion of the underpaid, overworked American worker, means Clinton will have to spend money and effort for a nomination many assumed was hers for the taking.
“Bernie is authentic,” said Kurt Meyer, Democratic chairman of a trio of rural counties in north-central Iowa, who has not endorsed a candidate. “He has a fervor in his message that connects with people.”