Klobuchar draws crowds in New Hampshire as she hopes for a surge in Tuesday's primary
Posted February 10, 2020 10:01 p.m. EST
CNN — Sen. Amy Klobuchar had a request of the overflow crowd gathered to see her on the eve of the New Hampshire primary: Surprise the country on Tuesday.
"So, as you probably heard, we're on a bit of a surge," she said. "To think this all happened in New Hampshire, well, maybe I am not surprised."
Tuesday's primary is a crucial day for Klobuchar, who after placing fifth in the Iowa caucuses, turned in a strong performance at Friday's debate that boosted her fundraising and has given her campaign a sense of much-needed momentum.
A stronger-than-expected showing could keep her competitive in a Democratic primary that soon turns to much tougher terrain for the Minnesota senator: Nevada and South Carolina. Klobuchar has not registered any support with non-white voters in recent polls, and her campaign has not invested in those two states compared to Iowa and New Hampshire.
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The senator's mad dash on slushy roads that wind through the state began in earnest the moment her feet touched the ground in Manchester at four in the morning on Tuesday, fresh off the plane from Des Moines, Iowa. Since then, she's held more then 20 public stops, most often taking no questions from voters to squeeze in more events. Those stops include large rallies and dropping into any diner the campaign can find, taking photos with children on her lap and eating poutine off of plates of supporters.
"I know them, so I'm not just randomly eating," she said to the press with a mouth full of gravy-soaked fries and cheese at Chez Vachon, gesturing to the couple seated at the table in front of her.
"This is really good," she said, and then took a seat at their table.
In another moment she beckoned a young girl who took a seat on her lap and quipped, "I just want to stay here the whole time." And to a young boy, she sat in his booth and read him the lyrics to a song from the musical Hamilton because his parents said he's an American history buff.
Klobuchar announced at rally in Nashua on Sunday that her campaign had raised over $3 million dollars since her widely-praised performance at Friday night's debate, dwarfing the $2 million dollar figure the campaign released a day earlier, 14 hours after the debate. It's nearly one-third of her total fundraising figure for the last quarter, and $2 million more than she made in the 24 hours after her last well-received debate performance in December.
The announcement came the same day as her campaign received its largest crowd in the Granite State at a get-out-the-vote rally in a large room on top of Manchester's Southern New Hampshire University's dining room.
The campaign says the massive interest, attendance on the ground and fundraising is a sign that "something's happening" in New Hampshire, calling it "Klobmentum."
And she, herself, attributes it in part to Friday's debate, where she landed punches against former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, invoked her own modest upbringing and delivered a captivating closing statement about the need for empathy in the White House.
"I think we've seen this incredible surge of support since (the debate)," she told CNN's John King.
Voters who spoke with CNN also said Klobuchar's debate performance was a deciding factor in their support.
"I was undecided on who I wanted to vote for until after the debate," said Mark Ludden, a college admission counselor from Windham, New Hampshire.
"Her performance in the debate this weekend was phenomenal. She seems very sincere. She seems like she can connect with average Americans, unlike a lot of politicians and that put us over the top," he told CNN in an interview on Monday.
He liked both Buttigieg and Biden, but Ludden said Biden was too old for "such an important position," and he questioned Buttigieg's sincerity.
"Sometimes he does seem sincere, other times he does not, and I just can't put my finger on it," he said.
Kevin Thomas, an account from Stratham, New Hampshire, said after contributing to Buttigieg's campaign for months, he decided Monday to support Klobuchar instead.
"I think her experience is worth a lot," Thomas said. "Nothing against Pete, I know he's the mayor of South Bend. And I think he's incredibly intelligent, I appreciate his military experience, but I think being in the Senate, and knowing the way the government functions," put him in Klobuchar's corner.