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Klobuchar says shrinking field of candidates on debate stage works in her favor

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Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn.
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., is surrounded after speaking at the College Convention 2020, a quadrennial gathering of politically-engaged students and educators on Jan. 7 in Manchester, N.H.
Elise Amendola | AP Photo file

Encouraged by the dwindling number of people sharing the stage, Minnesota U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar said she hopes she and her fellow presidential hopefuls can focus Tuesday night on the needs of rural America in their Des Moines, Iowa, debate.

"I hope this will finally happen, that we discuss it,” she said. “Given that we're in Iowa, and I'm the one on the debate stage that asked to be on the Agriculture Committee and is a senior member who negotiated through three farm bills, and who knows that food just doesn't magically appear on your table, and that rural education [and] rural health care is not one size fits all."

In this last debate before next month’s Iowa caucuses, Klobuchar will go up against fellow Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, as well as former Vice President Joe Biden, former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, and businessman Tom Steyer. The debate is being held at Drake University and will air on CNN.

The field of qualifying candidates has narrowed dramatically over the past several months, a development that Klobuchar said has helped her.

"The fact that we have less people on the stage is just a good thing for me and it's allowed me to do really, really well in the last three debates,” Klobuchar said. “The numbers have helped me.”

Klobuchar said she planned to underscore her record of winning elections in Minnesota congressional districts controlled by Republicans.

According to the latest Iowa Poll from the Des Moines Register and CNN, Klobuchar remains stuck in fifth place there. But the poll also shows many likely Democratic caucusgoers in the Hawkeye State have not made a final decision on whom to support.