DES MOINES, Iowa — 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 was due 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 such as 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 was meeting with Democratic Party officials Friday, as well as farmers affected by President 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.

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