FROM THE CANDIDATES
Castro will be rallying with McDonalds workers on Saturday in Des Moines, according to CBS News Campaign Reporters Musadiq Bidar & Adam Brewster. The former housing secretary will speak with McDonalds cooks and cashiers before they go on strike to demand a $15 an hour minimum wage and union rights. This comes after Kamala Harris announced she will be joining McDonalds workers the same morning for a march into the Polk County Streak Fry.
Castro is set to make his 13th trip to Iowa since announcing his candidacy. It will be his first trip to the Hawkeye State in the month of September. The campaign is planning to host 10 events in the Cedar Rapids and Des Moines area over 3 days this weekend.
The Vermont senator's campaign announced Thursday it has now received contributions from over 1 million individual donors, according to CBS News Campaign Reporter Cara Korte.
"With 1 million contributors, this is the only Democratic campaign that has more supporters than Donald Trump," said campaign manager Faiz Shakir. "Our strength is in numbers, and that is why Bernie Sanders is the only candidate who is able to say his campaign will rely only on grassroots funding in both the primary and against Donald Trump."
Sanders reached the milestone seven months after he announced his candidacy in February, faster than any candidate ever.
As Harris returns to Iowa for the first time in more than a month, state Representative Ross Wilburn announced he is endorsing Harris for president. CBS News Campaign Reporters Musadiq Bidar says Wilburn is one of five members of the Iowa Legislative Black Caucus and represents the 46th District, which includes Ames.
Harris is back in Iowa for the first time since she left the state back on August 12. The California senator returns as her campaign is betting big on Iowa and vowing a top three finish in the Hawkeye State, according to CBSN Political Reporter Caitlin Huey-Burns & CBS News Campaign Reporter Adam Brewster.
"We want to make sure that we have a strong top three finish," said Harris' Campaign Manager Juan Rodriguez. "I think that will kind of continue to give us a slingshot to go into that early primary state calendar and then make sure that we're also competitive heading into Super Tuesday."
Rodriguez said the campaign is bringing on an additional 60 organizers in Iowa in the fourth quarter and will open 10 additional offices around the state. The campaign says Harris will be in Iowa every week in October and will spend about half of the month campaigning in the state. Lily Adams, the campaign's communications director, pushed back on questions from reporters about Harris' drop in polls over the summer. "After first debate numbers spiked in a way that I don't think was sustainable, I think it was a sugar high," said campaign communications director Lily Adams.
Wilburn cited Harris' "executive, legislative, and life experience," as reasons he is looking forward to campaigning for the senator. "She reminds us that this election can't just be about getting rid of Trump, it is about writing the next chapter," Wilburn said in a statement provided by the campaign. Earlier this year state representative Phyllis Thede, another member of the legislative black caucus, also endorsed Kamala Harris. Harris now has 21 total endorsements in Iowa, including seven from current and former elected officials in the state.
Even as Harris looks to double down on Iowa, her campaign is scaling up today in Nevada, says CBS News Campaign Reporter Alex Tin, and is opening its second office in the state. Washoe County Recorder Kalie Work, an early backer of Harris and the only Democrat elected countywide in Nevada's swing-iest county, will headline the Reno opening. The California Democrat's team in Nevada has a busy schedule planned for the coming months, including visits from a handful of surrogates and Harris herself.
O'Rourke on Thursday released his proposal to legalize marijuana and end the war on drugs, says CBS News Campaign Reporter Tim Perry. The plan calls for amending federal statues to "lift the federal prohibition" on marijuana. It also would allow for marijuana- related business owners to use banks for their businesses and use clemency power to release those currently serving sentences for marijuana possession as well as expunging records for those convicted for the same crime.
This week, O'Rourke has held two round tables with activists, dispensary owners and local elected officials detailing some of the issues that affect communities of color as it relates to the War on Drugs and the growing marijuana industry. O'Rourke's plan calls for using revenues from the marijuana industry to invest in communities impacted by the war on drugs and ensuring that these same communities are benefiting from the "economic activity related to marijuana."
Thursday O'Rourke held a round table discussion at Blunts + Moore in Oakland, CA, a local minority owned dispensary and the first social equity dispensary in the world. During the meeting, O'Rourke spoke about "transformative justice" saying the he wants to "ensure that those who have been harmed have the best way forward."
Tom Steyer has unveiled a new ad in Iowa titled "Screwed Us." CBS News Campaign Reporters Musadiq Bidar & Adam Brewster say the billionaire's 30 second ad highlights Iowan farmers and the ethanol industry. It begins with a sound bite of Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley during a TV interview saying "they screwed us," a reference Grassley was making to the Trump administration's granting of 31 waivers to oil refineries.
The waivers allowed the refineries to circumvent blending of ethanol into the nation's fuel supply. The move has significantly impacted ethanol production plants in Iowa and angered some Iowa corn farmers and ethanol producers. In the ad, Steyer also highlights Trump saying "as a candidate president, I pledge to support our ethanol industry."
"Iowa deserves economic leadership, not lies," Steyer says in the ad. "Together, we can beat Trump and make government work for Iowans."
Steyer's campaign tells CBS News this new ad will be on TV through at least Sunday and possibly longer. According to Advertising Analytics, Steyer has spent more than $4 million on ads in Iowa. This one comes as Steyer recently secured a spot on the debate stage in October after gaining his fourth qualifying poll earlier in September.
ISSUES THAT MATTER
CLIMATE OF DEMOCRACY
In MSNBC's day-long Climate Forum, several of the candidates used the issue of climate change to highlight how inefficiently government is working, notes CBS News Political Unit Associate Producer Ellee Watson.
As of this writing, Michael Bennet, Andrew Yang, Marianne Williamson, and Bernie Sanders have spoken at the forum. The candidates emphasized that the United States cannot combat climate change unless there is structural reform in government because unless they do that, the other side will just reverse the gains made. Bennet made the point that the issue of climate change underscores the urgency of structural reform in government because unless this generation's leaders get something done, it will be too late for the next generation.