Elizabeth Warren makes key 2020 hires ahead of 1st Iowa trip

Sen. Elizabeth Warren is moving quickly to gain an advantage in early-voting Iowa by naming top political staff with experience in the leadoff caucus state before she makes her first campaign trip there as a likely presidential hopeful this weekend

DES MOINES, Iowa -- Sen. Elizabeth Warren made key political hires in Iowa on Wednesday, signaling her intention to mount a strong campaign in the leadoff caucus state ahead of her first trip there as a likely presidential candidate.

The Massachusetts Democrat hired Brendan Summers, who managed the 2016 Iowa caucus campaign for Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, and Emily Parcell, whose past campaign roles include political director for Barack Obama's winning 2008 Iowa caucus campaign.

Perhaps more noteworthy, Warren also snapped up operatives fresh off victories in November's midterm elections who had been wooed by other prospective presidential candidates.

Warren hired Kane Miller, who managed Democrat Abby Finkenauer's winning campaign over GOP U.S. Rep. Rod Blum in Iowa, and Janice Rottenberg, who led the Iowa Democratic Party's coordinated campaign and was credited with helping the party win two GOP-held U.S. House seats and gain ground in the state legislature.

The moves follow Warren's decision to launch a presidential exploratory committee on Monday. The senator will hold multiple events across the state this weekend. And while other possible White House contenders, including Sens. Cory Booker of New Jersey and Kamala Harris of California, have already been to Iowa, the hires make clear that Warren intends to compete in the state.

Addressing reporters in Boston on Wednesday, Warren said she hoped the trip to Iowa would be a "conversation."

She said campaigning is about being able to "listen to people, to hear from people, to talk to people about the things that matter most in their lives."

A better-than-expected finish in Iowa could position Warren well in New Hampshire, where she would be expected to perform well as a neighbor to the first-in-the-nation primary state.

Warren, 69, is the first of the better-known national Democratic presidential prospects to announce an exploratory committee and set course for Iowa, marking the unofficial start in the campaign for the caucuses, scheduled for February 2020.

Her Monday video announcement sparked a polite response from President Donald Trump, a frequent sparring partner who has taunted her for her claim of Native American ancestry by calling her "Pocahontas."

"We'll see how she does. I wish her well," Trump said. "I hope she does well. I'd love to run against her."


Associated Press writer Steve LeBlanc in Boston contributed to this report.