BRIO, Iowa — Bernie Sanders is going to the polls for the Iowa caucuses on Saturday and Hillary Clinton has been working for days to convince voters in the Hawkeye State that she is a candidate for president and not a career politician.
And both candidates are expected to take a beating from the other.
Clinton, a former secretary of state who lost the Iowa caucus to Sanders in the Democratic primary, is running a campaign that is not without controversy.
Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist, is campaigning in Iowa for the first time as a presidential candidate.
But the two will be locked in a fierce battle for Iowa’s 1,472 delegates on Feb. 1.
That means the Democratic race for the White House will not be over before Iowa voters cast their ballots.
Democrats and Republicans are split over how to approach the state, which has the largest proportion of minority voters in America.
In a recent poll, Sanders received 55 percent support from Iowa voters, according to the Iowa Public Radio affiliate KCCI.
It was Clinton who had the edge in the Iowa polls, winning 53 percent support, the survey found.
Iowa’s Democratic caucuses, which began on Feb 1, are usually held in the summer, but this year is shaping up to be the first major primary season in the state in which the nominating contests are decided in early March.
The Democratic race is being closely watched by Democrats, particularly because the caucuses are the first step in nominating candidates for President in the general election.
On Saturday, Sanders will speak at the Iowa Democratic Party’s presidential forum, and then he will go to Iowa City, the home of the Iowa State Fair, to campaign for Clinton.
The two campaigns have agreed to hold a joint rally in the city later Saturday.
The campaign also is hosting a debate between Sanders and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the evening.
The Sanders campaign, led by former aides Tad Devine and Jeff Weaver, has also announced that the Sanders campaign will host a two-hour town hall event in Des Moines on Feb 15.
While both candidates have their fair share of criticism, there is a common theme in the attacks on both.
Both are portraying themselves as candidates for the middle class and have promised to create more opportunities for working people.
There is a widespread perception that Sanders is a career political operative who has little experience in government and has never been elected.
“Bernie Sanders has never run for public office and has no experience in public office,” Devine said in a statement on Saturday.
“He has never held elected office, never served in the U.S. Senate, never held public office, and has not even held the position of Secretary of the Interior.”
Sanders has repeatedly said he would be willing to accept a contested convention if it meant the candidate he wants to lead the Democratic Party would not be the nominee.
The Sanders campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Devine, a political operative and former adviser to Bill Clinton, told KCCA that he has a “great sense of honor” in campaigning in his home state and would not endorse any candidate in the caucuses.
Devine is a Sanders surrogate and said he is “100 percent behind” Sanders and is “going to make it clear to anybody who doesn’t believe in his candidacy, Bernie Sanders is not the nominee.”
The Sanders camp is also expected to air an ad that will be aired during Iowa State fair broadcasts Saturday that will focus on issues like income inequality and the health care law.
Meanwhile, the Sanders camp also is working on an ad featuring the candidate speaking directly to voters in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
Sanders, who is a self said socialist, says that the issues he has taken on in his campaign are a reflection of his values and will not go away if he is not elected president.
The Sanders’ campaign is also trying to make sure that Iowa is seen as a place that the country can go forward.
The candidate has already been criticized by many for his failure to deliver on the promises he made in the campaign.