Hillary Rodham Clinton will return to Iowa next month for the first time since she lost the 2008 presidential caucuses and appear at an event honoring retiring Sen. Tom Harkin.
Clinton and former president Bill Clinton will appear Sept. 14 at Harkin’s annual Steak Fry, according to their spokesmen and a Democratic source with knowledge of the event details. The Steak Fry — an Iowa political highlight for 37 years — will also feature Rep. Bruce Braley, the Democratic nominee for Harkin’s seat, and all of the party’s candidates for office.
The Iowa appearance comes as Hillary Clinton considers making another presidential bid. She finished third in Iowa’s 2008 Democratic caucuses, behind eventual nominee and president Barack Obama and John Edwards.
“We are so excited to welcome President Clinton and Secretary Clinton to celebrate the final Harkin Steak Fry this year,” Iowa Democratic Party Chairman Scott Brennan said in a statement. “We are thrilled to be able to honor Senator Harkin’s legacy and all that he has done for Democrats and for Iowans. “
The Steak Fry is legend in Iowa politics, serving as a fundraiser for the state Democratic party as well as an audition of sorts for politicians who want to get to know activists who play a crucial role in the first-in-the-nation presidential caucuses.
Harkin, who is retiring after five Senate terms, convinced a then up-and-coming Obama to make the keynote address at his 2006 Steak Fry. Harkin joked that Bono of U2 was unavailable so he “settled for the second biggest rock star in America today.”
The Iowa race to replace Harkin is one of about a dozen that could help determine which party controls the Senate. Public opinion polls show Braley is deadlocked with Republican Joni Ernst.