Klobuchar and other candidates are not polling well. But at the Iowa State Fair, they're stars.

By the time the senator from Minnesota left the fair Saturday night, Aug. 10, she had spent nearly eight hours on the ground, smiling and shaking hands and doing all the things that White House aspirants do when they make their quadrennial pilgrimage to this playground of fried food and presidential politics.

“Maybe I haven’t had a viral moment,” Klobuchar told a crowd of more than 1,000 gathered to hear her speak at the fair’s political soapbox. But she invoked another Democrat, Jimmy Carter, who had wandered through here as a long shot for the presidency before his campaign caught fire, signaling that she hoped Iowans would help hers do the same.

For Klobuchar and other Democrats stuck near the bottom of the polls in a historically large field, the Iowa State Fair offered one of the brightest spotlights of the election contest so far, outside of the debates. These hopefuls addressed some of the largest crowds of their campaigns at the soapbox and attracted outsize media attention from the nearly 800 reporters and photographers credentialed for this year’s fair, far more than in any other year.

The crowd cheers on Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., during her speech

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