By Zachary Toillion
As has become customary in large nationally significant elections, surrogates have come to play a major role of attracting would be voters to official campaign events. On the Democratic side Hillary Clinton has brought in husband former President Bill Clinton as well as daughter Chelsea to campaign on her behalf. Clinton has also brought in a range of celebrities including Katy Perry and Lena Dunham. High ranking government officials including Senators McCaskill, Gillibrand, and Harkin as well as former Secretary of State Madeline Albright have all stumped for Clinton in Iowa.
Bernie Sanders has relied heavily on celebrity endorsements for his campaign, bringing in Hollywood stars like Susan Sarandon and Sara Silverman. He’s also gained the endorsements of several bands and musical acts that will play a show for him in Iowa City the day before the caucuses take place. Among those set to attend are Vampire Weekend, Foster the People, and rapper Killer Mike. Sanders has had to rely more on the endorsements from unelected prominent people, because he has fewer backers who work in traditional politics.
On the Republican side almost all the surrogates have been members of Congress, and almost universally Republican surrogates hold or have held elected political office at some point. For Republicans, there have been relatively few endorsements of candidates, meaning that the sheer amount of surrogates on the trail has been limited to a very small number. Sen. Marco Rubio has appeared at events with Colorado Senator Cory Gardner and Rep. Trey Gowdy who currently serves as the chairman of the House Committee on Benghazi.
High profile surrogate events can sometimes be misleading. A good example of the event is Hillary Clinton’s Katy Perry concert which occurred the day of the Jefferson Jackson dinner-the biggest event of the year in Iowa Democratic Politics. While the event did a lot in gathering information on voters who were predisposed to Clinton, it also drew out many people who were already backing a candidate from either political party. In the crowd many were spotted wearing Bernie Sanders shirts and news media interviewed many who were drawn there to see Katy Perry.
As the general election nears, expect to see even more surrogates making the case for whomever each nominee is.