DES MOINES, Iowa - The Polk County Democrats Steak Fry offered a chance for 17 presidential candidates to rally for support in front more 12,000 potential Iowa caucus goers Saturday.
It may have been one of the few opportunities left for back benchers to make an impression in front of a large crowd to boost anemic poll numbers.
New Jersey Senator Cory Booker made a dramatic announcement at the Steak Fry - that he'll need an infusion of $1.7 million dollars in 10 days (Sept. 30), or he'll drop out of the race.
"If we don't raise that $1.7 million, we will have to make that tough decision," Booker told a group of reporters after speaking on stage.
One candidate registering at close to 0-percent, Montana Governor Steve Bullock, was introduced by Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller.
Nine candidates sought to recreate the magic of Barack Obama in 2007 by storming the Steak Fry with a legion of supporters and then give a rousing speech.
Obama, who trailed Hillary Clinton by high double digits, used the ploy and ultimately won the Iowa caucus several months later in 2007.
The Steak Fry also presented an opportunity for Kamala Harris and Pete Buttigieg, who are in a second tier behind the front runners, to showcase their messages.
Harris, a California US Senator, has said she plans to move to Iowa to Iowa for campaign purposes. She’s also doubled her staff in the state.
Front runners Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders each brought large crowds of supporters, as did lower polling candidates Any Klobuchar and Beto O’Rourke.
A recent Iowa State University poll had Warren leading the race, with Biden and Sanders tied for second.
The only candidate opting out of an appearance at the Steak Fry was former Maryland congressman John Delaney, who instead attended his daughter’s wedding.
Polk County Democrats report having sold more than 12,200 to the Steak Fry, which is a record for the event.