Klobuchar’s campaign has not denied any of the specific allegations detailed in recent news stories, and Democrats in the critical first caucus state of Iowa — where Klobuchar hopes to make a splash in a crowded 2020 field — say the senator’s treatment of staff has the potential to sideswipe her campaign.

“It’s a very unfortunate way to start a presidential campaign,” said Jerry Crawford, a longtime Democratic operative in Iowa. “It was well-known at the insider level, but now it’s becoming well-known to the general public at the time she’s announcing, which is problematic for her politically.”

Bryce Smith, the Democratic Party chairman in Dallas County, Iowa, said “I don’t see being a hard-ass as a boss as a bad thing.” Smith noted, however, that “having to take time away from stumping on why you would be the best candidate and playing defense on what happened in her past” could be a problem for Klobuchar. “A few candidates have to do that right now,” he added.