Michael Avenatti has arrived in Iowa.
After three canceled flights and a 700-mile road trip, the lawyer known for representing adult film actress Stephanie Clifford, known as Stormy Daniels, in her case against Republican President Donald Trump, is ready to put his stake in the ground in the first-in-the-nation caucus state.
“I’m exploring a run for the presidency of the United States, and I wanted to come to Iowa and listen to people and learn about some issues that are facing the citizens of Iowa and do my homework,” Avenatti told the Des Moines Register in an interview Thursday.
Avenatti, who rose to prominence as a key figure in what is called the Democratic resistance, is scheduled to speak at the Democratic Wing Ding fundraiser Friday night in Clear Lake.
That event, a celebrated platform for presidential hopefuls and rising stars alike, hosted Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders in 2015. Then-U.S. Sen. Barack Obama headlined the event during his first run for president in 2007.
On Friday, he’s scheduled to appear alongside two declared presidential candidates – U.S. Rep. John Delaney of Maryland and entrepreneur Andrew Yang – as well as potential candidate U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio.
More: Schedule for 2018 Political Soapbox at the Iowa State Fair: When candidates are speaking?
Avenatti has faced some criticism that his interest in a potential presidential run stems mostly from an effort to raise his own personal profile. He denied those claims Thursday.
“I would never think to come to Iowa in order to use the state or the people of the state to raise my profile,” he said. “And obviously if I do this, then I intend to work hard and I know that ultimately the trust of the citizens of Iowa is going to have to be earned.”
Avenatti also is scheduled to give the keynote address at a reception for the County Iowa Democratic Elected Officials Association later this month.
He said that while he’s in Iowa he intends to deliver a message urging Democrats to take on Trump and his policies directly.
“I think there’s a huge appetite within the party for a fighter,” he said. “I think the party has yearned for a fighter – a fighter for good, if you will – for a significant period of time. And for many, I’m probably seen as that individual.”
Avenatti said he hopes his message to Democrats will be well received.
“I would like to think people would take me seriously,” he said. “And I think, hopefully, the message that I deliver tomorrow night will be well received by Iowa Democrats.”
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