One week before the first votes are cast and the race in Iowa appears to be a dead heat on the Democratic side.
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont are each polling around 45 percent support, well within the margin of error, with each candidate making a final push to win the Feb. 1 caucus.
“You campaign in poetry and govern in prose,” said Clinton near the close of a candidate town hall sponsored by CNN Monday night in Iowa. “And this campaign needs a lot more poetry.”
The narrative, particularly on the Republican side, has often struck an angry tone with front-runner Donald J. Trump rising to the top of the polls on insults and attacks. Trump leads the GOP field nationally and appears to have beaten back a challenge from U.S. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas in Iowa where the latest CBS News poll has the billionaire businessman holding a 39 to 34 percent advantage.
At Monday’s town hall at Drake University, Clinton seemed to be targeting Trump at times without mentioning him by name.
“We don’t make America greater by insulting, demeaning and demonizing our communities,” she said. “We are better than that.”
Clinton has consistently mentioned her support of gay rights in the campaign trail and did again at Monday night’s town hall. Last week she received the Human Rights Campaign’s endorsement and this week the Des Moines Register, Iowa’s newspaper of record, endorsed her and U.S. Senator Marco Rubio of Florida in the Republican race.
HRC’s endorsement of Clinton, however, did not sit well initially with Sanders, who labeled the organization “establishment” before retracting his comments.
In an interview with the Washington Blade, Andrew Miller, a member of the New York based grassroots group Queer Nation, said Sanders was correct in his assessment of HRC.
“It’s gratifying that at least one American politician understood – at least for a moment – that HRC represents the 1 percent, not the majority of the LGBT community nor the values of LGBT Americans,” Miller told the Blade.
After Iowa, the race shifts to New Hampshire (Feb. 9), where Sanders holds a slim lead in his neighboring state. For Republicans, Trump is lapping the field in New Hampshire with Cruz, Rubio and Ohio Governor John Kasich his nearest challengers. On Tuesday, Trump received the endorsement of Jerry Falwell, Jr., evangelical leader of Liberty University.
“In my opinion, Donald Trump lives a life of loving and helping others as Jesus taught in the great commandment,” said Falwell Jr., whose father founded the Lynchburg, Virginia school in 1971.