Black potential voters in Iowa say candidates for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination haven’t reached out to them enough during the campaign season.
Cheryl Barnes who works at Tranzitions Salon & Beauty Bar in Des Moines, told NBC News she may not vote in the caucus because she feels they haven’t spent enough time specifically speaking to her.
“I'm not sure if I’ll caucus this year,” she said. “Because I'm not sure about the candidates yet.”
Brandy McCracken, a 42-year-old Democrat, echoed Barnes’ sentiment. “It will basically come down to me finding time to caucus — if there's someone that interests me.”
These women may be emblematic of a trend in the midwestern state. According to a recent poll, only 40 percent of likely caucus goers have picked a candidate. This group, however, may remain undecided past Monday’s vote.
Barnes and McCracken both turned out to vote for Barack Obama in 2008 and say this time, they feel left out.
"They're reaching out more to the rural areas of Iowa than they are in Des Moines to me,” 61-year-old Kim McCracken-Smith told NBC. “And in rural Iowa, there's no Black people.”
According to U.S. Census Bureau data, African Americans make up four percent of the state’s population, which has a total population of over 3 million. However, four percent can make or break a winner in a close caucus.
Other Black potential voters say the outreach they’ve received this year has been impersonal. “I’ve just been getting these generic text messages and calls that I know are just the standard they’re reading off of the paper,” TranZitions salon owner Tyechia Daye said. “Come and see us — if you want our votes.”
“Tell me why I should join you,” she continued. “My time is money.”
Of the remaining candidates, Joe Biden is the only one to visit Corinthian Baptist Church, a cornerstone in Des Moines’ Black community.
Cory Booker and Kamala Harris were the only two Black candidates running in the 2020 race. Harris dropped out in December and Booker ended his campaign in January.
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