Des Moines Register Endorses Elizabeth Warren

DES MOINES — The Des Moines Register endorsed Senator Elizabeth Warren for the Democratic presidential nomination on Saturday night, calling her “the best leader for these times.”

The newspaper, Iowa’s largest and most influential, gave Ms. Warren a boost just over a week before the caucuses on Feb. 3, when Iowans will take part in the first nominating contest of the primary cycle.

In its editorial, the Register praised Ms. Warren as “a thinker, a policy wonk and a hard worker.”

“Warren’s competence, respect for others and status as the nation’s first female president would be a fitting response to the ignorance, sexism and xenophobia of the Trump Oval Office,” the editorial stated.

After more than a year of campaigning, the Democratic race is extraordinarily volatile in Iowa, as residents continue to fret over which candidate can beat President Trump.

In recent days, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont has shown momentum in the state, and he led a poll of likely caucusgoers published Saturday by The New York Times and Siena College, which showed him earning 25 percent support and his three top rivals clustered behind him.

His rise in Iowa has come at the expense of Ms. Warren, his fellow progressive, who dropped to 15 percent in the survey, down from 22 percent in the last survey conducted by the organizations, in late October, when she led the field.

Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Ind., was at 18 percent in the poll, and former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. was at 17 percent. Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota was the only other candidate approaching double digits, at 8 percent.

The Register’s endorsement landed as Ms. Warren worked her way through her selfie line after a town-hall-style event in Muscatine, Iowa.

She did not find out until after she took the final picture, when her communications director, Kristen Orthman, pulled her aside to share the news.

Ms. Warren leapt back in excitement — pulling her hands to her chest, as if to say, “what, me?” — and then pumped both hands in the air and did a little dance. Ms. Orthman then appeared to show Ms. Warren the editorial on her phone.

Ms. Warren gulped down a sip of coconut water, one of her campaign trail staples, and headed over to a gathered group of reporters and microphones with a smile.

“I just heard and I’m delighted,” Ms. Warren said of the endorsement. “It really means a lot to me. I’m very happy.”

In a tweet thanking The Register for the endorsement, she wrote that “Iowans are ready to make big, structural change — and I’m going to fight my heart out for everyone in Iowa and across the country.”

In its editorial, the Register praised Ms. Warren’s approach to the economy, health care, climate change and other issues.

“She says corporations should have less Washington influence, children should be protected from gun violence, child care should be affordable, immigrants deserve compassion, mass incarceration should end and the wealthy should pay more in taxes,” the editorial stated. “Those ideas are not radical. They are right.”

It also argued that any of the Democrats campaigning in Iowa would be “more inclusive and thoughtful than the current occupant of the White House.”

In making its decision, The Register’s editorial board interviewed nine current Democratic candidates who have spent considerable time campaigning in Iowa, several candidates who have since left the race, and two Republicans who are challenging Mr. Trump. The Register is not endorsing in the Republican race.

The newspaper made clear that the endorsement was the product of its editorial board, and that its news staff, including the editors and reporters who cover the presidential race, had no involvement in the process.

The Register’s endorsements, which began in 1988, are not predictions and have had a mixed record of swaying the caucuses. In 2016, the paper backed Senator Marco Rubio of Florida in the Republican primary, and Hillary Clinton in the Democratic one, when she was in a tight race against Mr. Sanders.

Nevertheless, the endorsements make national news. The paper also sponsors a closely watched poll of Iowa caucusgoers — the last of which is set to be released on Feb. 1, two days before the caucuses.

The Register, along with CNN, also sponsored a Democratic debate this month, the last before caucusing and voting begin in February.

Sydney Ember reported from Des Moines, and Michael Levenson from New York. Shane Goldmacher contributed reporting from Muscatine, Iowa.