clear
Tuesday December 18th, 2018 2:34PM

Stormy Daniels' lawyer dabbles in Iowa, says it's no stunt

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Michael Avenatti, the self-styled provocateur taking on the president on behalf of porn actress Stormy Daniels, has a message for Iowa Democrats: His foray into presidential politics is no stunt.

"I am seriously considering it, and I think a lot of it is going to hinge on what direction I think the party is taking and who is likely to get in the race," Avenatti said in an interview ahead of a foray into Iowa this week. He said he's not trying "to get under the president's skin."

As the top 2020 presidential prospects largely steer clear of Iowa, Avenatti toured the State Fair on Thursday. He's set to appear Friday at the Democratic Wing Ding in Clear Lake. Organizers of the fundraiser for county Democratic organizations said they were happy to welcome him to an event that has drawn heavy hitters like Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton in past years. If anything, they said, he was boosting interest.

"Let's put it this way: Tickets are selling, and we're getting a lot of women buying tickets," said Wing Ding chairman Randy Black, who said Avenatti reached out to say he was considering attending the event and they asked him if he would like to speak.

Avenatti said his visit to the State Fair included a stop at the butter cow — a cow sculpted in butter — two pork chops on a stick and plenty of conversation with people who recognized him and encouraged him to keep going. He strolled the fairgrounds drinking beer from a plastic cup and traded the gray suit for a blue gingham long-sleeved shirt and jeans, the typical dress code of a visiting politician.

He is meeting with Democratic party officials Friday, as well as farmers affected by President Donald Trump's tariffs.

"I've been humbled over the last two days by the reaction that I received," he said.

Novelty candidates are nothing new to politically savvy Iowans. Indeed, Trump — who did not win the Republican caucuses but did win the state in the 2016 general election — was a reality star before he took to the campaign trail. Black said Avenatti could have a similar effect, noting: "You have Trump, who opened up doors for people who never entered a political arena before. Michael Avenatti has done the same thing."

The similarities between Avenatti and his chosen nemesis don't stop there. Like Trump, Avenatti is a brash political outsider with a natural talent for cable television news, a blistering Twitter feed and a knack for a catchy slogan. He turned those tools against Trump as he represents Daniels and a growing list of critical clients.

Whether the trash-talking, sharp-suited, telegenic attorney is the right fit for low-key Iowa in the long run is an open question, as is whether he'd actually want to subject himself to the grind of a campaign. He'll get his first stylistic test in Clear Lake, where Black says he has made clear that "we're not here to bash, we're here to energize the base."

Avenatti, who attended high school in Missouri, got his legal training on the East Coast and built his law practice in Los Angeles, said his remarks would focus on "how as a party we need to fight this fight. And what we need to fight for and who we need to fight for."

But he admitted his appeal was of the bare-knuckle variety, noting, "I'm not cute and cuddly."

Democratic consultant Mary Anne Marsh said Avenatti deserves credit for being able to rile up Trump and Iowa Democrats deserve credit for bringing more attention to the fundraiser.

"The Iowa Democrats are many things. Dumb's not one," she said. "They know how to get attention. They know how to raise money. That doesn't mean Michael Avenatti is on the way to winning the Iowa caucuses."

Avenatti will share the stage Friday with Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan, Maryland Rep. John Delaney and businessman Andrew Yang. Many top-tier prospects — including former Vice President Joe Biden and Sens. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Cory Booker of New Jersey, Kamala Harris of California and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York — are avoiding Iowa so far.

Amid his growing profile, Avenatti continues to represent Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford. She has said she had sex with Trump in 2006, months after his third wife gave birth to their son, but Trump has denied it. Days before the 2016 presidential election, Daniels was paid $130,000 to stay silent in a deal handled by Trump's personal attorney Michael Cohen. She is suing to invalidate the nondisclosure agreement.

But Avenatti's reach has extended. In recent weeks, he has protested Trump in London, accepted an award in Denver and visited children in New York who had been separated from their parents at the U.S. border. He expects to devote more time to Democratic Party events in the coming weeks, with plans to appear in Ohio, Florida and Iowa (again).

So far, Avenatti hasn't taken any other steps toward a run, like hiring staff or raising money, though he says he has heard from consultants. He describes his political philosophy as "a Bill Clinton Democrat who embraces a few fundamental concepts of the progressive left," such as "Medicare for all." And he argues that while he has no background in politics, "I might argue that I'm certainly more well-versed in many concepts of government and the law than our sitting president."

Longtime Iowa Democratic activist Sue Dvorsky said she didn't see a downside in welcoming Avenatti to Iowa.

"The Wing Ding isn't a setup to have deep policy conversations. It's a Wing Ding, for God's sake!" she said. "I think it's going to be fun, it's going to be entertaining and I think he's got something important to say."

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, Top General short headlines, AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Entertainment, APOnline Celebrity News
© Copyright 2018 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
'Suicidal' mechanic steals plane from Seattle airport
Officials say a "suicidal" airline mechanic stole an empty Horizon Air plane and took off from Sea-Tac International Airport in Washington state on Friday night before crashing into a small island
2:27AM ( 31 minutes ago )
The Latest: Man who stole plane said he was a 'broken guy'
An airline mechanic who stole an Alaska Airlines plane from a Seattle airport told air traffic controllers that he was a "broken guy" but also joked about whether the airline would hire him as a pilot if he landed safely
2:17AM ( 41 minutes ago )
Winners of Hawaii's Democratic primaries favored in November
Hawaii voters head to the polls this weekend for a primary election that will most likely settle the outcome of this year's major races
2:09AM ( 49 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Activists rally against hate on Charlottesville anniversary
Police are blocking off streets and mobilizing hundreds of officers for the anniversary of a deadly white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, alarming activists who plan to rally against the hatred that shocked the nation
12:26AM ( 2 hours ago )
Memo shows Kavanaugh resisted indicting a sitting president
Newly released documents from Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh's time on the Ken Starr team investigating Bill Clinton reveal his resistance to issuing an indictment of a sitting president
12:18AM ( 2 hours ago )
Avenatti pitch in Iowa: 'When they go low ... we hit harder'
The self-styled provocateur taking on Donald Trump for porn actress Stormy Daniels has brought his presidential pitch to Iowa, telling Democrats: "When they go low, I say we hit harder."
12:10AM ( 2 hours ago )
AP National News
New Mexico compound littered with ammunition, dirty diapers
A property owner in the New Mexico town where five adults were arrested on child abuse charges and remains of a boy were found is questioning why the adults' living compound wasn't searched earlier by authorities
11:29PM ( 3 hours ago )
In Iowa, Stormy Daniels' lawyer says Democrats must fight
Michael Avenatti, the lawyer for porn actress Stormy Daniels, is telling Iowa Democrats that the party needs a bare-knuckle fighter to take back the White House
11:10PM ( 3 hours ago )
NFL players emphasize reasons for anthem demonstrations
While the NFL continues discussions with the players' union regarding a national anthem policy, players who demonstrate are emphasizing they are protesting social injustice, racial inequality and systematic oppression.
11:10PM ( 3 hours ago )
Top General short headlines
Little-known Democratic 2020 hopefuls make early Iowa visits
In Iowa, the dozen or so little-known Democrats who have begun visiting the early presidential nominating state sometimes go unrecognized while the party's stars and rising national figures stay away for now to focus on midterms
12:28AM ( 2 hours ago )
Roger Stone associate held in contempt in Russia probe
An associate of Trump campaign adviser Roger Stone has been held in contempt of court for refusing to appear before a grand jury in the Russia investigation
9:51PM ( 5 hours ago )
The Latest: Memo shows Kavanaugh opposed indicting president
New documents have been released from Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh's time on the Kenneth Starr team investigating Bill Clinton that reveal his resistance to issuing an indictment of a sitting president
8:58PM ( 6 hours ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
Man linked to reality TV star Bethenny Frankel found dead
Authorities are investigating the suspected overdose death at Trump Tower of a man romantically linked to a reality TV star
8:55PM ( 6 hours ago )
Former All-Star pitcher Loaiza pleads guilty to drug charges
Former All-Star pitcher Esteban Loaiza pleads guilty to possession of about 20 kilograms of cocaine with intent to distribute
7:49PM ( 7 hours ago )
In book, Omarosa says Trump is a bigot, behaved 'like a dog'
Former White House staffer Omarosa Manigault Newman claims in a new book that she saw President Donald Trump behave "like a dog off the leash" when he she saw him at Mar-a-Lago events without his wife, first lady Melania Trump.
6:48PM ( 8 hours ago )
AP Entertainment
Former Tour champion Ullrich arrested over alleged attack
Former Tour de France champion Jan Ullrich was arrested early Friday and is being investigated for attempted manslaughter after allegedly attacking an escort at a Frankfurt hotel
1:08PM ( 13 hours ago )
Stormy Daniels' lawyer dabbles in Iowa, says it's no stunt
Michael Avenatti, the lawyer for the porn actress taking on President Donald Trump, is taking his message to Iowa Democrats.
12:11PM ( 14 hours ago )
Photographer says Bill Murray harassed him at restaurant
A photographer says actor Bill Murray slammed him against a door and poured a glass of water over him while he was taking photographs at a Massachusetts restaurant this week
11:13AM ( 15 hours ago )
APOnline Celebrity News
'Suicidal' mechanic steals plane from Seattle airport
Officials say a "suicidal" airline mechanic stole an empty Horizon Air plane and took off from Sea-Tac International Airport in Washington state on Friday night before crashing into a small island
2:27AM ( 32 minutes ago )
The Latest: Man who stole plane said he was a 'broken guy'
An airline mechanic who stole an Alaska Airlines plane from a Seattle airport told air traffic controllers that he was a "broken guy" but also joked about whether the airline would hire him as a pilot if he landed safely
2:17AM ( 41 minutes ago )
Winners of Hawaii's Democratic primaries favored in November
Hawaii voters head to the polls this weekend for a primary election that will most likely settle the outcome of this year's major races
2:09AM ( 49 minutes ago )
Crews battle growing wildfire near homes in California
Crews are working furiously to keep a Southern California wildfire from burning more homes south of Los Angeles while firefighters in the north have finally gained ground against destructive major blazes
2:05AM ( 54 minutes ago )
Lombok lifted 10 inches by quake that killed nearly 400
Scientists say the powerful Indonesian earthquake that killed nearly 400 people lifted the island it struck by as much as 25 centimeters (10 inches).
2:03AM ( 55 minutes ago )