Update: Sen. Amy Klobuchar is dropping out of the 2020 presidential race and endorsing former VP Joe Biden on March 2, 2020.
Who is Amy Klobuchar?
Current job: US Senator from Minnesota since 2006 and 2020 presidential candidate.
Family: Klobuchar is married to attorney John Bessler, with whom she has a 23-year-old daughter named Abigail.
Hometown: Plymouth, Minnesota.
Previous jobs: Corporate lawyer, partner at Minnesota law firms Dorsey & Whitney and Grey Plant Moody, Hennepin County Attorney from 1999 to 2006.
Who was Amy Klobuchar’s direct competition for the nomination?
Based on a recurring series of national surveys we conduct, we can figure out who the other candidates competing in Amy Klobuchar’s lane are, and who the broader opponents are within the party.
Insider has been conducting a recurring poll through SurveyMonkey Audience on a national sample to find out how different candidate’s constituencies overlap. We ask people whether they are familiar with a candidate, whether they would be satisfied or unsatisfied with that candidate as nominee, and sometimes we also ask whether they think that person would win or lose in a general election against President Donald Trump.
What are Amy Klobuchar’s policy positions?
- At a March CNN town hall, Klobuchar said that while she wants to see universal healthcare coverage become a reality in the US, she does not support Medicare for All, calling it an “aspiration.”
- At the Democratic primary debate in August, Klobuchar expressed her opposition to eliminating private health insurance under Medicare for All. “Bernie wrote the bill, but I read the bill. And on page 8, it says that we will no longer have private insurance as we know it. That means 149 million Americans will no longer be able to have their current insurance. And I don’t think that’s a bold idea, I think it’s a bad idea.”
- She added: “what I support is something Barack Obama wanted to do from the beginning, which creates a public option: a nonprofit choice that will bring down the costs of insurance, cover 12 million more people, and bring down costs for 13 million more people.”
- She supports lowering the Medicare eligibility age to 55, and co-sponsored a bill introduced by Senator Brian Schatz of Hawaii that would create an expanded public option to allow people to buy into Medicaid or Medicare at a reasonable price.
- Klobuchar has also sponsored bipartisan legislation that would lower the cost of prescription drugs, and allow Medicaid to directly negotiate drug prices with pharmaceutical companies.
- Klobuchar voted for 2013 immigration legislation to provide a path to citizenship to most undocumented immigrants without criminal records and increase the availability of skills-based visas while allocating more funding for border security.
- “Our state’s economy is so strong and we rely on legal immigrant employees to work at the turkey farms, out in the farm fields and other places like health care assistance,”Klobuchar said in 2018.
- She does not support abolishing Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), but believes the agency should be reformed.
On climate change:
- Klobuchar does not currently support the Green New Deal, but says she would have the US re-join the Paris Accords if she became president. The international agreement – which the Trump administration pulled the US out of – aims to decrease greenhouse gas emissions 45% by the year 2030 and expand renewable energy output.
- At a September CNN climate town hall, Klobuchar argued in favour of carbon pricing and a plan to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 while embracing natural gas a “transition” fuel to help the US move away from foreign oil.
- Klobuchar also expressed interest in working with the meat and dairy industries to lower their carbon footprint and water usage, saying, “I am hopeful that we can do this in a way, when I’m president, where we can continue to have hamburgers and cheese.”
On campaign finance/election reform:
- Klobuchar supports automatic voter registration for Americans, and introduced legislation in 2017 that would have automatically registered people who interacted with government agencies.
- As a member of the Senate Rules Committee, Klobuchar also introduced bipartisan election security legislation last year.
- She opposes the Citizens United decision and has sought to decrease the influence of money in politics. Her own campaign is refusing donations from corporate political action committees.
- At July’s Democratic debate in Detroit, Klobuchar promised to confront corporate interests. “What is broken is a political system that allows the NRA and other large, big money to come in and make things not happen when the majority of people are for [it],” she said. “As president, I will take them on.”
- Klobuchar has consistently supported abortion rights in her voting record, earning a 100% alignment rating from Planned Parenthood.
On LGBTQ rights
- Klobuchar supports same-sex marriage, and has pushed for measures to combat LGBTQ discrimination, writing in a 2013 report that discrimination is “not only morally wrong” but “bad for business and hurts our economy.
- While she doesn’t support free, four-year college for all, Klobuchar supports reducing student debt burdens and increasing options for Americans to refinance their student loans.
- Klobuchar also supports expanding access to technical and vocational training, including introducing legislation to allow 529 education savings accounts to be used to fund vocational education.
- She’s praised a plan introduced by 2020 rival Sen. Kamala Harris that would give US public school teachers an average $US13,500 pay raise.
- Klobuchar is from a rural state with a strong hunting culture, joking that she doesn’t want to hurt her “Uncle Dick in the deer stand” at a CNN town hall.
- She supports instituting universal background checks, banning assault rifles, and Extreme Risk Orders – also known as “red flag” laws – which allow law enforcement to remove guns from people they determine to be a threat.
- At the third Democratic debate in September, Klobuchar also backed a voluntary government buyback of semi-automatic weapons for people who want to surrender their guns.
On criminal justice reform:
- Klobuchar, a former prosecutor, recently came out in support of marijuana legalization, saying she believes that “states should have the right to determine the best approach to marijuana within their borders.”
- Klobuchar previously supported the STATES Act, which would have prohibited the Department of Justice from cracking down on marijuana in states that have legalised the drug.
- Klobuchar has previously supported US tariffs on foreign steel and aluminium imports, according to CNBC.
- She’s criticised the Trump administration, however, for the damage retaliatory tariffs imposed by China have caused to the Midwest’s rural farmers.
- At the third Democratic debate in September, Klobuchar said, “[Trump] has assessed these tariffs on our allies, he’s putting us in the middle of this trade war, and he’s using our farmers like poker chips in one of his bankrupt casinos. And if we are not careful, he will bankrupt this country.”
On foreign policy:
- Klobuchar opposed Trump withdrawing troops from Syria earlier this year, voting for a Senate legislation which rebuffed his decision, PBS reported.
- She’s criticised Trump for becoming friendlier with US adversaries like Russia’s Vladimir Putin and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un while distancing himself from traditional American allies, telling MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow she believes America must “stand as a beacon of democracy.”
- She took a dig at Trump’s foreign policy at her campaign launch, saying “we must respect our frontline troops, diplomats, and intelligence officers … they deserve better than foreign policy by tweet.”
- Klobuchar’s Senate website says she supports legislation that would “simplify the tax code, close wasteful loopholes, bring back money U.S. companies are holding overseas to fund infrastructure projects here at home, and provide incentives to keep jobs in America.”
- She criticised the 2018 Republican tax reform bill, saying it “created a terrible incentive to move jobs and operations abroad to take advantage of tax havens.”
On jobs and the economy:
- Klobuchar supports raising the federal minimum wage to $US15 an hour.
- Klobuchar supports expanding export markets for US goods, especially those made by small businesses, as well as decreasing red tape and burdensome regulations that hinder small business growth.
- Klobuchar also recently rolled out an ambitious $US1 trillion plan to upgrade and invest in America’s infrastructure, which she says will create thousands of good-paying jobs.
- At the fifth Democratic debate in Atlanta, Klobuchar advocated for a three-month paid family leave policy.
- Klobuchar represents many rural communities in Minnesota, and has secured federal funding to expand broadband internet in rural areas, as well as improving the quality of infrastructure in rural areas.
- As a former corporate lawyer specializing in telecommunications, Klobuchar has also introduced legislation implementing stronger privacy regulations on tech companies and supports preventing the proliferation of tech monopolies by limiting big firms from acquiring or merging with other ones.
What are Amy Klobuchar’s political successes?
- Klobuchar’s first foray into politics was successfully lobbying for the enactment of a Minnesota law that required insurance plans to cover new mothers being able to stay in the hospital 48 hours after giving birth.
- In 2016, Klobuchar sponsored or co-sponsored 27 bills that were signed into law, more than any other senator that year.
- Two bipartisan bills Klobuchar introduced to combat the opioid crisis in 2018 were passed and signed into law.
- Klobuchar was the lead author of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, which banned lead in children’s products, among other provisions. She described it as the “most sweeping reform” of consumer product safety law in “decades.”
Where did Amy Klobuchar poll best?
Based on the 12 polls conducted by Insider since late August, we can gather a sense of the geographic regions where candidates are overperforming when it comes to how satisfied voters would be if they were chosen as the presidential nominee. Though the first four primaries are in the Western Midwest, New England, the South Atlantic and Mountain regions, the four regions that allocate the bulk of the delegates to the Democratic National Convention are the South Atlantic (16%), Pacific (16%), Mid-Atlantic (16%) and Eastern Midwest (15%).
Voters in the West Midwest were most satisfied with Klobuchar as a candidate at a rate of 15.3 percentage points over other regions. She also does well in the Western South (+3.3 percentage points) and New England (+2.6 percentage points). She polls worst in the Mountain region (-3.8 percentage points) and Eastern South (-9.5 percentage points).
How was Amy Klobuchar viewed by different wings of the Democratic party?
Klobuchar does especially well among those who identified as moderately liberal, though also does really well among those who identify as slightly liberal. She lags among respondents who identify as very liberal.
How much money has Amy Klobuchar raised?
After her breakout third-place finish and surge in the February 11 New Hampshire primary, Klobuchar’s campaign announced she raised a stunning sum of $US12 million in the following days, further propelling her momentum.
Could Amy Klobuchar have beat President Trump?
Referring back to Insider’s recurring poll, Amy Klobuchar overall is believed to be a much weaker candidate in a general election against Donald Trump compared to the whole field.
Based on responses from Democratic primary voters, for a typical candidate surveyed about a third of respondents think they’d win, and another third think they’d lose. Despite largely running on her own electability, Klobuchar comes in a bit low: only about 15% think she’d win.
How was Amy Klobuchar viewed by voters compared to the competition?
Insider has conducted a number of other polls to check in on how these candidates are perceived in comparison to one another. When we asked respondents to one poll to rank how far to the left or to the right they considered the candidates, Klobuchar was generally considered to be one of the more right-leaning or centrist candidates in the field, and the most right-leaning of the top tier of candidates to which she is in now.
Klobuchar was among the more experienced candidates in the field by far when we asked respondents to rank the candidates based on how prepared they are for the rigors of the presidency given what they knew about their history of public service and experience with government. And when asked how likable or personable respondents perceived the candidates to be, Klobuchar was in the middle of the pack.
Recently, Klobuchar emphasised her experience in government and took a shot at the 37-year-old upstart presidential candidate Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana, telling CNN that a woman with Buttigieg’s comparable lack of government experience wouldn’t qualify for a Democratic debate.
“I’m the one from the Midwest that has actually won in a statewide race over and over again,” she said. “Those are the kind of voters I have won. And that’s not true of Mayor Pete. That’s just a fact.”
How did Democratic voters feel about Amy Klobuchar’s qualifications?
Insider has conducted polling about how voters feel about candidate attributes or qualifications. We asked respondents about a list of possible qualifications and if they made them more likely or less likely to vote for a candidate for president.
For example, among respondents who said they’d vote in the Democratic primary, 19% said a candidate being a college professor made them likelier to support them, while 4% said it made them less likely to, for a +15% net favorability. We can then see how different candidates’ resumes stack up compared to those preferences.
Attributes perceived as most valuable include her released tax returns (+43%), position in the Senate (+40%), middle-class upbringing (+36%), Ivy league education (+7%) and past as a lawyer (+3%).
Attributes considered to be a liability based on the preferences of self-reported Democratic voters include her history as a prosecutor (-1%) and corporate lawyer (-33%).
Read more of our stories on Amy Klobuchar:
- Amy Klobuchar got the most bang for her buck in New Hampshire, while Tom Steyer squandered $US19.2 million for zero delegates
- Amy Klobuchar is giving Pete Buttigieg a surprising run for his money in New Hampshire, setting up a critical rivalry for the rest of the race
- Underdog Amy Klobuchar rockets ahead of Warren and Biden, poised to win delegates in New Hampshire primary
- Here are all the allegations of staff mistreatment facing 2020 presidential candidate Amy Klobuchar.
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