2020 candidates campaign across the US

7:10 p.m. ET, March 17, 2019

Cory Booker praises Iowa's progressive history, record on labor and women's rights

New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker lauded Iowa’s progressive history which he said improved life for his own ancestors in the coal town of Buxton, Iowa.

“This state of Iowa is so far ahead on so many chapters of history. The underground railroad went right through here. People didn't wait until the federal government abolished slavery. They started liberating people right through the state,” Booker said to a crowd in Waterloo, Iowa, on Sunday.

The 2020 candidate said the “spirit of coming together” present in the Iowa town his ancestors lived in is what the country needs today.

He referenced Iowa’s track record on civil rights, women’s rights and labor rights. He argued that this progress was born out of engagement in local politics.

“(Local elections) make a big difference in protecting labor rights because I see what is going on in this state as they are attacking things to get around Davis-Bacon, attacking workers compensation,” Booker said.

The remarks were made at a campaign event for an Iowa state senate candidate, Eric Giddens.

CNN's Jasmine Wright and Lauren Sennet contributed to this report.

6:12 p.m. ET, March 17, 2019

Beto O'Rourke says he'll release fundraising totals soon

Beto O’Rourke will release fundraising totals for the early days of his 2020 campaign “soon” the candidate from Texas told reporters Sunday.

Although he did not explain why he was withholding the information, O’Rourke admitted that he had chosen not to release them.

“Thus far. I don’t have a day in mind so I’m sorry that I can’t give you,” O’Rourke said. “I’m sorry that I choose not to give you a clearer answer.”

O’Rourke also told reporters that, while he had not hired a campaign manager yet he had made an offer.

O'Rourke did not elaborate on to whom the offer was made, but sources close to the conversations told CNN's Eric Bradner the offer had been made to Jen O'Malley Dillon. Dillon is a veteran Democratic Strategist who served as deputy campaign manager for President Barack Obama's reelection campaign.

“I’m working with an extraordinary team right now, some of whom helped me in the amazing Senate race that we ran in Texas, some of whom are new to this campaign,” O’Rourke said. “I am in talks with someone who might be very excited to lead this effort.”

These comments come at the end of the former congressman’s first weekend as a presidential candidate. O’Rourke planned visits to 13 Iowa counties in three days, speaking in coffee shops, bars and homes.

CNN reporters following the candidate noted that he has focused on the value of “showing up” but has been unable to answer specific questions about his campaign and policy positions.

10:58 a.m. ET, March 17, 2019

Klobuchar responds to Biden's claim he has 'most progressive record'

Minnesota Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar appeared on CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday morning as she campaigns in Iowa.

Asked about former Vice President Joe Biden's recent remark that he has the "most progressive record of anybody running -- anybody who would run," Klobuchar acknowledged Biden's lengthy record, while referring broadly to elements of his record that would clash with his progressive claim.

“He has been running things for a long time as a senator and then as Vice President," Klobuchar said. "I’m sure he will be able to point to some major accomplishments that are progressive, and then he’ll have to explain things that weren’t as progressive.”

9:02 a.m. ET, March 17, 2019

Kirsten Gillibrand officially enters 2020 race

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand officially jumped in the 2020 presidential race on Sunday by declaring her Democratic candidacy with a campaign video titled "Brave Wins."

Gillibrand, speaking directly to the camera in the two-plus minute video, announces she's running for president and ends with an invitation to join her at the Trump International Hotel on March 24, where she plans to deliver "her positive, brave vision of restoring America's moral integrity straight to President Trump's doorstep," her campaign said in an announcement accompanying the video.

Her official entry to the race makes her the sixth woman seeking the Democratic nomination as well as the sixth senator.

See who else is running (or thinking about it) here.

From CNN's Veronica Stracqualursi

7:39 p.m. ET, March 16, 2019

Chris Coons 'confident' Joe Biden will be the next president

Speaking at the Delaware Democratic Party dinner in Dover tonight, Senator Chris Coons said he’s “confident” Joe Biden will be the next president.

“I’m confident than 598 days from now, we will together be celebrating, celebrating a new president. Someone who has a vision for this country, that’s rooted in who we are. Someone who has the character and the heart and the integrity to bring this country forward, not backwards. Someone who knows the challenges we face. Someone who has struggled himself and has worked. Someone who is no stranger to the concerns and cares of our country, but someone who unites us and heals us and leads us. Folks, I am praying for that man, and I am excited to hear from him just a few minutes from now. I am confident that is our Vice President Joe Biden!” Coons said. 
2:23 p.m. ET, March 16, 2019

Cory Booker: 'We are more in danger right now' of far-right, white supremacist attacks

During a town hall in Des Moines, Iowa, Democratic Sen. Cory Booker warned that the country is "more in danger right now" of violent threats from far-right and white supremacist groups.

"There has been about 80-plus terrorist attacks since 9/11. The majority of them have been right-wing extremist groups, and the majority of them have been white supremacist groups. This toxin, this viral evil is not – we don’t have a monopoly in America. Look at what happened in New Zealand. This is a scourge in humanity – bigotry and hate -- and we need to know that we are more in danger right now..."

Booker's comments in Iowa come after Trump told reporters in the Oval Office Friday he does not regard white nationalism as a rising global threat in the aftermath of the New Zealand mosque terror attacks.

"We all must commit ourselves to the fight against hate," Booker said Saturday, adding later that we must have a president that will condemn bigotry.

"It is not enough to say in this country, 'Well I'm not a racist,' and leave it at that. When racism, bigotry, sexism, homophobia, anti-Semitism exists, it's not enough to say, 'I’m not a bigot' – you must be an anti-bigot. You must be an anti-racist. You must work against it."

According to the Anti-Defamation League, 71% of the deaths linked to extremism in the United States between 2008 and 2017 were committed by far-right attackers.

1:41 p.m. ET, March 16, 2019

Beto O'Rourke is running ... a 5K

Former Rep. Beto O'Rourke, who officially entered the 2020 presidential race this weekend, ran a Saint Patrick's Day 5K race in North Liberty, Iowa, this morning.

The Texas Democrat talked to race participants, a.k.a. potential voters, as he jogged the 3.1 miles. He also took questions from the media and others after he crossed the finish line.

NBC News' reporter Alex Seitz-Wald clocked in O'Rourke's finish time as 24 minutes and 15 seconds.

CNN's DJ Judd contributed to this report.

10:55 a.m. ET, March 16, 2019

Kirsten Gillibrand pitches GI Bill expansion to include other national service

At a roundtable with Americorps alumni in Manchester, New Hampshire, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand talked about her idea to expand the GI Bill to make national service a priority, and how her plan would help young adults pay for college.

In the New York senator's plan, a young person would work in health care, education, military service, as a first responder or in a green job for one or two years, and depending on how long they worked, they would have two or four years of their college paid.

In a gaggle following the event, Gillibrand said this plan would pay for itself, despite critics who say that a plan like this is too expensive, because “you’re turning either low wage or unemployed workers, or unemployed workers or young people into our employees of the future, that are actually, our workers of the future, that are actually going to pay more in taxes and create a growing economy.”

10:26 a.m. ET, March 16, 2019

Bill Weld compares Trumpism to 19th century, anti-immigrant 'Know-Nothing Party'

Former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld, in an interview Saturday on CNN's "Smerconish," compared Trumpism to the Know Nothing Party, a anti-immigrant movement that grew during the 1850s in the US.

"I've never left the party of Lincoln," Weld replied. "When I started in Republican politics, which was way back in the 60s, people listen to each other. Policy was made in Washington by hammering things out and yes, compromising. But a lot got done."

"Trumpism is a natural air of the Know Nothing Party of the 19th century, which like the Trumpism, was founded on anti-immigrant fervor. They hated in that case Catholics, the Catholics coming in from Germany and Italy. They had violent rallies, just like Trumpism. They believe in conspiracy theories, just like Trumpism. And that party just disappeared into the mist. And I think the same thing is going to happen with Trumpism. I think this is, you're right--it's a flash, a real flash in the pan. But I think it's gonna wind up being that when the sober second thought of the community kicks in."

Weld ran in 2016 for vice president on the Libertarian Party ticket with Gary Johnson. In February, Weld launched an exploratory committee to run in 2020 as a Republican.

Weld also told CNN Trump was not knowledgable on climate change, energy or immigration, but "simply repeats his buzzwords."

"Before he was elected President of the United States, he was a New York City and Palm Beach socialite, judging beauty contests and employed in the reality TV industry. That's no preparation, with all respect, for being the President of the United States. I'm not saying it's his fault. I'm saying he's kind of a fish out of water. And I think as the campaign goes on, that idea is going to take root."