Nineteen of the 23 Democratic presidential candidates descended on Iowa this weekend, each one looking for a way to stand out from the pack. With so many candidates running, more than half of them are failing to resonate with voters, earning one percent or less from potential voters.
Campaigners gathered at an enormous party fundraiser, giving speeches on strategy and their presidential plans.
But one candidate wasn't there - frontrunner Joe Biden.
His campaign said the former vice president missed the dinner due to his granddaughter's high school graduation, Politico reports.
Among Democrats, Biden has unmatched international and legislative experience, and he is among the best-known faces in US politics. That's partly why he's leading the pack seeking the Democratic Party nomination for 2020.
Some candidates took veiled shots at Biden with self-avowed socialist Bernie Sanders arguing that "the same old" politics won't beat President Trump. He added that a middle-ground strategy that changes nothing is a failed political strategy.
"We will not defeat Donald Trump unless we bring excitement and energy into this campaign," Sanders said. "The status quo, same old, same old kind of politics will not do that."
In 2016, Sanders' socialist ideas helped him stand out from Hillary Clinton, but now some of the younger 2020 candidates are also pushing for progressive programs that are similar to Bernie's agenda, CBN News reported.
Biden is scheduled to return to Iowa on Tuesday, the same day as Trump, to campaign in western Iowa, creating a comparison between the two that Biden has aimed to emphasize.
Meanwhile, Biden recently announced a major shift in his policies, saying he now supports using taxpayer money to pay for abortions because times have changed.
Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren avoided the abortion funding debate and instead outlined her hidden criticism of Biden through a focus on removing moneyed interests from politics.
"I'm not spending my time with high-dollar donors and with corporate lobbyists," Warren said. "That's how we build a grassroots movement in America."
South Bend Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg highlighted his youth, pitching himself as the voice of a new generation. "And it turns out, people of all generations are ready to see a new generation rise in American leadership," Buttigieg said.
In Buttigieg's case, that voice is harshly critical of Christian conservatives in America.
As CBN News previously reported, the Democratic presidential hopeful is taking his attacks on Christianity up a notch, comparing Christians to radical Muslims.
Buttigieg says he's a Christian, but he's been touting his homosexuality and his same-sex marriage to a man named Chasten Glezman as a campaign issue, lashing out repeatedly at Vice President Mike Pence over his conservative Christian views about marriage.
Cedar Rapids poll respondent Patti Thacker says Buttigieg is her first choice for president. "He wants to get the country into a new mode and give us new hope there really is something better than what's been happening," she added.
In a new Des Moines Register/Mediacom/CNN Iowa Poll, Biden leads the pack. He's several steps ahead with 24 percent while Sanders sits at 16 percent support. Warren held 15 percent and Buttigieg followed closely behind at 14 percent backing from the caucus participants.
Support drops off quickly for the other 18 candidates, with Amy Klobuchar and Beto O'Rourke barely holding on at 2 percent.
The following candidates have just 1 percent support: Michael Bennett, Cory Booker, Julián Castro, John Delaney, Tulsi Gabbard, Jay Inslee, and Andrew Yang.
And nine candidates don't even register in the poll, earning 0 percent support: Steve Bullock, Kirsten Gillibrand, John Hickenlooper, Seth Moulton, Tim Ryan, Eric Swalwell, Marianne Williamson, Bill de Blasio, and Wayne Messam.