DES MOINES, Iowa — Elizabeth Warren is fighting to regain momentum in the turbulent tussle for the Democratic presidential nomination amid lingering questions about her consistency and ability to defeat President Donald Trump.
Warren was considered a leader in the crowded race through the fall, yet just days before Iowa’s first-in-the-nation caucuses, allies, adversaries and new polling suggest that progressive rival Sen. Bernie Sanders has a slight advantage — at least in the battle for the party’s left wing. That’s just as establishment-minded Democrats begin to rally behind former Vice President Joe Biden, who has tried to stoke fears about his more liberal rivals’ ability to win in November.
Warren’s uncertain status raises questions about whether any female candidate will emerge from Iowa’s Feb. 3 caucuses with the political strength to go deep into the primary season, a challenge that will almost certainly require early victories to generate the energy and campaign cash needed to continue.
As would-be supporters acknowledged concern over the weekend, Warren ignored the shifting political currents and vowed to continue fighting for the kind of transformational change she’s championed for months, even while pressing her final case in Iowa before being forced back to Washington for Trump’s impeachment trial in the Senate.
“Since I first got in this race a year ago, I have not focused on polls. And that’s exactly how I’m going to continue to run this race,” Warren told reporters when pressed about whether she needs to change her strategy.
She added: “I’m running a campaign from the heart. That’s what it’s all about to me. This is who I am.”
The people paid to focus on politics on Warren’s team insist they’re not worried, and with one week before voting begins, there are no plans to shake up her strategy. The campaign noted that she has already attracted more than 3 million individual donations and assembled a paid campaign operation in 31 states.
The 70-year-old Massachusetts senator got a much-needed boost over the weekend by winning the endorsement of Iowa’s largest newspaper. And while she has won a series of coveted newspaper endorsements, Warren has yet to earn the backing of a single member of Congress from Iowa or New Hampshire, the states that host the first two voting contests.
The shutout particularly stings given Warren’s proximity to New Hampshire, whose two female senators have declined to support their neighbor, who has increasingly evoked her gender as a strength on the campaign trail.
New Hampshire Sen. Maggie Hassan is unlikely to support Warren and is instead considering whether to endorse longtime political ally Biden, if anyone, according to Democrats familiar with her thinking who were not authorized to share internal discussions. New Hampshire’s other senator, Jeanne Shaheen, is facing reelection this fall and is not expected to endorse anyone.