Joe Biden's campaign reportedly reached out to opponent Amy Klobuchar to form a joint strategy for the upcoming Iowa caucus, but she turned down the idea.
As The New York Times reported, three members of Biden's campaign staff met with Klobuchar strategist Pete Giangreco to discuss the idea that the campaigns could come together on the night of the caucuses and help each other gain votes. The strategy called for each of them to organize their supporters to back the other candidate in districts where they fall short of the 15 percent threshold. In the Iowa caucuses, supporters of these candidates are forced to go to someone else in the next round of voting if they fall below that level.
Klobuchar's team reportedly rejected the idea, and later released a statement saying they were confident in their chances on their own.
"Our campaign is on the rise," said communications director Tim Hogan. "We've never made caucus deals with other campaigns and don't intend to."
The move comes as Biden has lost his grip on the frontrunner status in the race. He has been leading in both national polls and the majority of Iowa voter polls leading up to next week's voting, but Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders has been gaining ground quickly in the past few weeks and has passed the former vice president in polling in the state. The polling aggregator FiveThirtyEight listed Sanders just ahead early on Wednesday but in a statistical tie with Biden.
The site noted that the race is historically tight heading into the Iowa caucus, with a number of candidates tightly bunched within striking distance of winning. Since 1980, there has not been another contest with this many contenders within 10 points of the polling leader, which is due in part to late rises from Klobuchar and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Biden has faced other challenges, including the role he plays in Donald Trump's impeachment trial. Republican lawyers have frequently argued that he was engaged in corruption in Ukraine that justified the president's alleged pressuring of the country to announce an investigation on him. Senator Joni Ernst suggested that the trial was hurting Biden's chances of winning in Iowa.Biden was quick to jump on her statement and suggest that Trump and Republicans are continuing to try to sink his candidacy because they fear losing in November.
"Iowa caucus-goers take note," the former vice president tweeted. "Joni Ernst just spilled the beans. She and Donald Trump are scared to death I'll be the nominee. On Feb. 3rd, let's make their day."