NH pro­pels Klobuchar, but how far?

Path ahead in Dem field re­mains a chal­lenge

USA TODAY International Edition - - FRONT PAGE - Led­yard King and Deirdre Sh­es­green

WASH­ING­TON – Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s sur­pris­ingly strong third- place finish 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 field where most of her ri­vals are bet­ter known and have built larger field 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 final 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 staffers 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 staffers 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

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