DES MOINES – Deidre DeJear — one of Iowa’s last undecided top Democrats — is likely to make an official endorsement before the caucuses on Monday.
But in a sign of how fluid the primary still is, DeJear, Iowa’s 2018 Democratic nominee for secretary of state and former state chair for Kamala Harris’s presidential campaign, has not yet made up her mind. In an interview, DeJear said that she’s deciding between former South Bend, Indiana, mayor Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, and former vice president Joe Biden.
DeJear said she’s likely to make a decision tomorrow, adding there’s still a small chance she only caucuses for a candidate instead of making a public pronouncement.
“We’re broken and we're sick but I think the solution is in recalibrating our moral compass as a country, and I’m looking for somebody who can do that,” she said.
DeJear also said that she didn’t want to feel forced into a decision but thinks it might ultimately be necessary to do so.
“My message to people with this endorsement is that the decisions we make to support leaders are not always easy ones,” she said. “But if we’re going overcome any challenges that exist in our country, we have to first begin with the internal challenge of making a choice.”
DeJear said that after Harris suspended her campaign in December, her supporters were quickly scooped up. But she savored the freedom to simply encourage participation in the caucuses among her community in Des Moines.
In brief interviews, the state’s Democrats said her endorsement mattered as a black woman who was able to broadly speak about concerns in the community. Aides around the candidates said the campaigns had worked hard for her endorsement because of her reputation as a motivator, whose leadership could serve as a boost to caucusgoers suffering from apathy.
Her intentions on Sunday — DeJear’s self-imposed deadline — were a hot topic at a Saturday night dinner party for Biden fans hosted by senior adviser Symone Sanders at a black-owned restaurant in Des Moines. DeJear suggested that she has spoken with Harris in recent days, but said she couldn’t elaborate on their conversations.
“If this was just a personal decision, I wouldn't be going through all this,” DeJear said.