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Many Democrats Love Elizabeth Warren. They Also Worry About Her.


In Iowa, a former chairwoman of the state Democratic Party, Sue Dvorsky, endorsed Senator Kamala Harris last weekend after confiding to friends that she felt Ms. Warren’s liberalism would be a liability in a general election, according to a Democratic official who spoke to Ms. Dvorsky.

It’s a sentiment that many voters expressed at Warren events.

Some of these Democrats prefer Mr. Biden, viewing him as an acceptable option to a cross-section of voters, but others are eager to find a middle ground between the consensus-oriented former vice president and progressive firebrands like Ms. Warren and Senator Bernie Sanders.

“If it were completely up to me, I’d vote for her,” said Jessie Sagona, who also came to see Ms. Warren last month in New Hampshire. “But I kind of feel like, do we need somebody in the middle like Kamala or Pete,” referring to Ms. Harris and Mayor Pete Buttigieg. Ms. Sagona said she had not fully made up her mind but was weighing the importance of “thinking strategically.”

Jan Phelps, who came to see Senator Cory Booker at a house party of his own in New Hampshire last month, articulated a similar calculation.

“I love her enthusiasm. She’s smart, she’s very smart. I think she would make an amazing president,” said Ms. Phelps, before quickly adding: “I’m worried about whether she can win. I worry that she’s being pulled even further to the left and that concerns me. Because we need to win, we just need to win.”

[Keep up with the 2020 field with our candidate tracker.]

Ms. Warren is moving aggressively to address such concerns. Her aides are distributing “Win With Warren” signs at events to implicitly address the electability question. Her campaign also used a town hall meeting she held in Oakland to interview attendees, in the fashion of an on-the-scene local TV news reporter, about whether they thought she could win. (The verdict in the video: a resounding yes.)

And in addition to her debate remark on skepticism about Mr. Trump and Mr. Obama’s candidacies — which reflects a theory of her top adviser, Dan Geldon, that most modern presidents were seen as vulnerable nominees — Ms. Warren is also making comparisons between this race and her 2012 defeat of then-Senator Scott Brown in Massachusetts.


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