Former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack revealed on Saturday that he is officially endorsing former Vice President Joe Biden for the Democratic nomination to the presidency in 2020.
“The most obvious point to make in selecting a nominee is electability. No leader can change the direction of a country or improve people’s lives if he or she can’t win the election,” Vilsack wrote in an op-ed published by USA Today. “Given the highest possible stakes in this election, electability has an enhanced role in deciding who the nominee should be.”
“As I thought about the candidate who has the ability to bring us together as one nation, the progressive but practical vision for progress at home, the experience and personal relationships to repair America’s image abroad, and the best chance at winning the states we have to win to govern, I concluded that Joe Biden is the person for the job,” he continued.
Vilsack served as governor of the Hawkeye state for two terms before he went on to serve as the Secretary of Agriculture under former President Barack Obama. He briefly launched his own bid for the presidency in 2007 and was considered one of two people under consideration to be former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s running mate in 2017 before ultimately losing out to Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA).
“While some may argue that Joe Biden’s lifetime of public service is a draw-back, I see it as a strength,” Vilsack said. “I see a well-defined candidate, who has withstood the test of time. I see a candidate who will best stand up to the character assassination attempts that we know are coming.”
“I know Joe Biden to be a good and decent man. I believe a majority of Americans will find that Joe Biden is the person best prepared and best positioned to heal the divisions within our country and to end the ‘disorder’ of the last 3 years,” he continued. “For all of these reasons I will proudly caucus on February 3, 2020 for Joe Biden.”
The state’s high-profile endorsement comes as Biden has been slipping in the early caucus state. As of publication, Biden sits at 17% support among Democratic primary voters in Iowa according to the Real Clear Politics polling average. Biden, who is still considered a top-tier candidate in the state, is falling behind South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg and has been vying for the second or third place spot against his progressive rivals Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT).
Biden’s campaign announced earlier in the week that the former vice president would be embarking on a statewide bus tour to interact with voters. The eight day “No Malarkey” tour will cover 18 different Iowa counties and will focus on issues such as health care, rebuilding the middle class, and defeating President Donald Trump.
“When Joe Biden first announced he was running, he told Iowans they’d be seeing a lot of him — and he meant it,” Biden’s campaign manager Greg Schultz told reporters on Wednesday. “Being honest, upfront, and authentic is core to who Joe Biden is and why Iowans love him.”