Over 3,000 supporters Sen. Bernie Sanders came out to rally for the White House hopeful in Cedar Rapids, Iowa Saturday night, a showing that the Vermont senator's backers said is all the polling needed to show the momentum that's made Sanders a frontrunner in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary.
"Our campaign has officially held the three largest rallies in Iowa," Bernie 2020 Iowa state director Misty Rebik said in a statement. "We've knocked over half a million doors in the last month. That is what we mean by 'Not Me, Us.'"
Sanders was expected Saturday night to place first in the influential and "gold standard" Des Moines Register/CNN/Mediacom Iowa Poll, but the poll was shelved after the campaign of former South Bend, Indiana mayor Pete Buttigieg claimed a supporter had encountered an irregularity with the pollsters.
Pete demanded to speak with the manager, and got the Iowa poll pulled. Perfect. https://t.co/KFq1aWFUEC— Ryan Grim (@ryangrim) February 2, 2020
"Release the poll or don't, I think we've got a pretty good idea already of who's ahead," tweeted Iowa Starting Line editor Pat Rynard.
Release the poll or don’t, I think we’ve got a pretty good idea already of who’s ahead pic.twitter.com/yKLs5eBCEv— Pat Rynard (@patrynard) February 2, 2020
Turnout at the Cedar Rapids event stunned observers.
I’m here at the Bernie Sanders rally in Cedar Rapids, Iowa and I can’t believe the amount of people here. pic.twitter.com/mDEQzsGaFA— Michael Sayman (@michaelsayman) February 2, 2020
A sense of the crowd from my view at the Sanders event in Cedar Rapids. pic.twitter.com/21G1I4IEtS— Gideon Resnick (@GideonResnick) February 2, 2020
NBC News reporter Alex Seitz-Wald, on the ground in Iowa, said Sanders had drawn the largest crowd of the four front-runners Saturday.
"Crowds ain't everything," tweeted Seitz-Wald, "but they ain't nothin either."
All four leading candidates were in Cedar Rapids today.— Alex Seitz-Wald (@aseitzwald) February 2, 2020
Only one of their events looked like this. Crowds ain't everything, but they ain't nothin either. https://t.co/j3C5rZTxO3
The poll, which is conducted by expert J. Ann Selzer, is widely respected as one of the top political polls in the country and paints a good picture of where Iowans are two days before the state goes to vote.
Turnout on Monday is expected to exceed 2016, when around 171,000 people came out to choose a winner in the open Democratic primary. Des Moines area Democratic strategist Jeff Link told HuffPost he expected "close to 2008" levels of turnout on Monday, close to 240,000.
As Common Dreams reported, Sanders is headed down the home stretch with a strong team on the ground and is using his "Not me, us" slogan as a rallying cry for voters.
The senator called for a collective movement of compassion in a tweet Saturday.
"Our job is to give people hope," said Sanders. "If we stand together, there is nothing that we cannot accomplish."