golden retriever
Sen. Elizabeth Warren's puppy, Bailey, poses for pictures with supporters in Iowa. (Tori King / Gaylord News)

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — It was supposed to be a selfie line for Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), but outside the event center in 29-degree weather, a blond, barefoot guy stole the spotlight.

His smile, his eyes, and his contagious personality captured the hearts of Iowans.

What’s worse? He kissed everyone, too.

Gaylord NewsThis story was reported by Gaylord News, a Washington reporting project of the Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Oklahoma.

His name is Bailey, and he doesn’t just have two feet, he has four.

Bailey is Warren’s golden retriever puppy, who, since late January, has been accompanying Warren on her bus tour around Iowa. Both Warren and her husband, Bruce Mann, introduced Bailey in Waterloo, Iowa, where he made his campaign cameo at a meet-and-greet with volunteers in a field office.

“Bailey loves people, and he loves the snow,” Mann said. “We thought this was a perfect opportunity to bring him along.”

Despite Olympic athlete Megan Rapinoe, “Queer Eye” star Johnathan Van Ness and most recently The Des Moines Register endorsing the democratic presidential candidate, Mann jokingly told supporters how happy he is that Bailey “endorsed” his wife for president as well. Even the endorsement of former San Antonio mayor Julián Castro seemed to be eclipsed by the four-legged fur baby.

Since his first appearance, Bailey has become everyone’s favorite “watchdog”. Leading up to the caucus, Bailey and his dog-parents tag-teamed every rally and town hall on the agenda.

Then word about Bailey in Iowa spread fast.

golden retriever
Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s puppy, Bailey, enjoys posing for pictures with supporters in Iowa. (Tori King / Gaylord News)

By the time Warren’s bus tour reached its second stop, two separate Instagram accounts and three different Twitter accounts for the good boy existed and the hashtag #baileywarren skyrocketed to 100+ posts. 

Bailey Warren’s officially unofficial Twitter fan account, @FirstDogBailey, racked up nearly 28,000 followers, more than Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt and Oklahoma Lieutenant Gov. Matt Pinnell combined.

Die-hard dog fans rapidly subscribed to a “Bailey Alert” text system that periodically sent people pictures of Bailey throughout the day and promised to provide supporters with their daily dose of fluff. (It’s true, text “Bailey” to 244-77.)

At other Warren events around the state, vendors struggled to restock Bailey swag. Fans were frantically purchasing the small supply of Bailey buttons, pins, and t-shirts before they sold out.

But more than anything, the grand prize for anyone on team Bailey is a coveted selfie with the K-9 himself. With Warren trapped in Washington, D.C., for President Trump’s impeachment trial, Mann made sure there were plenty of opportunities for supporters to do just that. In her absence, Mann continued campaigning while Bailey soaked up the belly rubs and ear scratches.

Upon her return, the dynamic duo reunited and hit the road together.

In Cedar Rapids, many of the 800 people in attendance posed with the pooch. In Des Moines, Mann said he lost track of the amount of people taking pictures with Bailey. In Iowa City for a brief moment, Bailey’s line was longer than Warren’s.

As the caucuses inch closer, the selfie lines get longer. But will Warren’s secret weapon be enough?

Warren brought the crowds and Bailey brought the cuddles, but at the end of the day the Iowa caucus winner is determined by the candidate that stole the most votes, not the most hearts.