NH propels Klobuchar, but how far?
Path ahead in Dem field remains a challenge
WASHINGTON – Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s surprisingly strong third- place finish in the New Hampshire primary Tuesday generated an immediate fundraising haul and coveted momentum heading into Nevada.
What’s less clear for the Minnesota senator is her path to the Democratic presidential nomination in a stillcrowded field where most of her rivals are better known and have built larger field organizations in Nevada, South Carolina and the Super Tuesday states that loom ahead.
Veteran Democratic strategists say Klobuchar’s challenge now is to mobilize and be competitive in those final early contests.
WASHINGTON – Fresh off her strong performance in the New Hampshire primary, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar sounded like someone undaunted by the long odds she faces in securing the Democratic presidential nomination.
“I don’t have that big bank account. I don’t have that big name ( recognition) as some of the other people that are in this race. And I am not a newcomer with no political record,” Klobuchar, 59, told supporters Tuesday after polls closed in New Hampshire. “But what I do is get things done. What I have is your back.”
And she has “Klomentum.” Klobuchar’s campaign said she raised roughly $ 2.5 million Tuesday night after early returns showed her with about 20% of the vote and surging past former front- runners Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren. That was on top of the $ 4 million her campaign raised in the few days after her standout performance at Friday’s debate in Manchester, New Hampshire.
That four- day haul was more than half the $ 11 million she raised during the last three months of 2019.
That fundraising boost helped bankroll an ad buy in Nevada that starts this week and will cost more than $ 1 million, according to her campaign. The campaign deployed an additional 20 staffers to the Silver State to help the 30 on the ground. Thursday, Klobuchar will hold a town hall in Las Vegas.
Klobuchar’s Nevada team wasn’t hired until the fall and numbered fewer than a dozen until the campaign redeployed staff from Iowa last week. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who won New Hampshire, has been organizing in Nevada since April 2019 and has more than 250 staffers in the state. Former Vice President Biden has more than 80. Former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg has about 100, and Warren, a senator from Massachusetts, has more than 50.
It’s not clear how much New Hampshire might boost the Minnesota senator’s name recognition or help sell the argument that her more centrist positions ( compared with Sanders and Warren) and her federal experience ( compared with Buttigieg) make her the best candidate to defeat President Donald Trump.
“Amy Klobuchar is exactly where you want to be coming out of New Hampshire – dark horse to top tier, overnight,” said Democratic media strategist John Lapp.
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D- Minn., speaks Tuesday in Concord, N. H. ROBERT F. BUKATY/ AP