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Biden addresses voters in Iowa. Photo: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

Joe Biden's campaign is sending Hispanic, black, and Asia-Pacific-American members of Congress to Iowa next week as surrogates to help him make his closing argument to voters before the February caucuses.

The state of play: One of those surrogates, Rep. Ami Bera of California, tells Axios he'll focus on two points: Reminding voters how Biden campaigned in 2018 for several freshman Democrats who flipped GOP seats, and making the case that Biden's health care plan is better than rivals'.

  • Bera is a doctor, Congress' longest-serving Indian-American member and co-chair of a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee program to help the party keep competitive seats.

In a telephone interview, Bera suggested Biden is the best poised to help down-ballot Democrats in competitive districts. "When we think about who’d be the [2020] candidate that would give them the biggest boost, far and away it’s Joe Biden," he said.

Why it matters: Nine in 10 Iowans are white, but the campaign believes that showing the broad diversity of Biden's coalition can help to lock down support from voters before the caucuses — and cement the idea that Biden has the best shot at beating President Trump.

  • Biden is at 23% in Iowa, per a recent CBS/YouGov poll. That puts him in a three-way tie with Sen. Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg.
  • "We all represent different aspects of the Democratic caucus and the broad diversity of our caucus," Bera said. "Iowa is white, but there are pockets of Asian Americans in Des Moines, and it’s important not to take any voter for granted."
  • Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II, the former Congressional Black Caucus chairman, and Rep. Lou Correa, a member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, are campaigning for Biden, too.

These surrogates are traveling around Iowa as part of the Biden campaign's broader "We Know Joe" bus tour.

  • Former Secretary of State John Kerry will highlight Biden's decades of experience with foreign policy, contrasting that with Trump amid the conflict with Iran.
  • State representatives from Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Florida also will be in Iowa on Biden's behalf, as well as Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms of Atlanta.

Go deeper

The future of retail: more self-service

Zliide makes a tag that attaches to clothing for self-checkout in retail stores. Photo: Jennifer A. Kingson/Axios.

Self-checkout, self-service, autonomous stores, DIY: The retail world is prepping for a future with fewer human workers and more technology involved in selling us stuff.

Why it matters: While 72% of retail sales are still expected to take place in brick-and-mortar stores in 2024, merchants are busy installing interactive signage, smart price tags, and remote checkout systems that point to a very different customer experience.

Updated 9 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: It's very difficult to get access to antiviral COVID treatments — Axios-Ipsos poll: Omicron's big numbersAnother wave of death — FDA limits use of Regeneron and Lilly antibody treatments.
  2. Vaccines: Pfizer begins clinical trial for Omicron-specific vaccine — The shifting definition of fully vaccinated.
  3. Politics: New York Supreme Court grants stay for indoor mask mandate — Neil Young demands Spotify take down music over vaccine misinformation — Biden admin withdraws temporary vaccine-or-test mandate for large employers.
  4. World: U.K. to lift travel testing requirement for fully vaccinated — Beijing Olympic Committee lowers testing threshold ahead of Games.
  5. Variant tracker

Scoop: Airbnb policy vet goes crypto

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Mujahid Safodien/AFP via Getty Images

Chris Lehane, a top Airbnb exec and former Clinton administration official, tells Axios Pro Fintech Deals he plans to join the leadership team of a crypto venture-capital fund next month.

Why it matters: The move by Lehane is a sign of the growing allure the crypto world holds for tech pioneers who have already amassed power and wealth but still want to scratch the "disruption" itch.