DES MOINES, Iowa — Liberal activists eager to draft Sen. Elizabeth Warren into a run for president are bringing their effort to Iowa, the pivotal early-voting state where there's already well-established organizing effort in place — for Hillary Rodham Clinton.
MoveOn.org will hold a meeting Wednesday evening in Des Moines as part of their new "Run Warren Run" campaign. The group is trying to persuade Warren to seek the Democratic nomination in 2016, even though the Massachusetts senator has repeatedly said she is not running.
"The response that we're hearing from Iowans in the first few days of this effort, it's clear people are hungry for Elizabeth Warren to get in the race," said Victoria Kaplan, an organizer for MoveOn.
Kaplan said Wednesday's event is their first organizing meeting, and there will be a similar event in New Hampshire in January. The campaign is seeking staffers in both states and trying to build volunteer and donor support. Another grassroots group, Ready for Warren, has made a number of visits to Iowa since the summer, trying to rally support for the senator.
Yet such work has been underway on Clinton's behalf for much longer, even though the former first lady, senator and U.S. secretary of State has not yet definitively said she will run for the White House.
The group Ready for Hillary, which has no formal ties to Clinton, held its first Iowa meeting in January. Midwest regional organizing director Derek Eadon, one of the group's two Iowa-based staffers, said the group has appeared at party functions across the state, held house parties and recruited volunteers for months.
Eadon declined to comment on the MoveOn effort, but said he is confident Clinton has the infrastructure in place to succeed in Iowa, where she placed third in the 2008 caucuses.
"Having staff on the ground, having local organizers that are trained ... that's going to be an advantage, because otherwise she'd be starting from scratch," Eadon said.
Warren is a favorite of many liberal Democrats, and enthusiastic crowds greeted Warren in Iowa in October when she tried to pump up Democrats for Bruce Braley's lagging Senate campaign in Des Moines and Iowa City with vigorous speeches that focused on income inequality and the need for economic reforms.
But Warren insists whenever she is asked that she is "not running for president." And that, said Brad Anderson, a Democratic consultant who served as state director for President Barack Obama in 2012, is noticed in Iowa.
"Anecdotally, socially and at holiday parties, Iowans are talking about people who have actually expressed an interest in running for the president," said Anderson.