White House Hopefuls to Make a Pitch to Undecided New Hampshire Democrats

Files/Reuters

A parade of 19 Democratic White House hopefuls will plead their case to thousands of New Hampshire party activists on Saturday, hoping a quick sales pitch will help ignite their campaigns in the race to pick a challenger to Republican President Donald Trump in 2020.

More than 10,000 Democrats are expected to jam the state party’s daylong annual convention, where they will hear short speeches from all of the party’s top presidential contenders five months before the state holds a pivotal early nominating contest.

Opinion polls show Democratic front-runner Joe Biden holds a narrow lead in New Hampshire over U.S. Senators Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who won the state’s primary with 60% of the vote during his failed 2016 White House bid, and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.

But party leaders say there is plenty of potential for changes at the top or a late charge by a lower-tier candidate, as many Democrats are still evaluating their options in the crowded field.

“I would say that 80% of the activists in the state have yet to commit, and that could make New Hampshire very volatile in the next few months,” said Ray Buckley, chairman of the state Democratic Party.

The convention comes at a crucial moment. It falls between last weekend’s Labor Day holiday, the traditional end of the summer vacation season and kickoff to political campaigning, and next week’s third Democratic presidential debate in Houston, which will give the top 10 contenders another national platform.

The pace of campaigning and the interest level of voters will accelerate as the race heads to the first state nominating contests in Iowa on Feb. 3 and New Hampshire on Feb. 11.

“After Labor Day, people look at political races differently, especially presidential races, and they start getting much more serious about evaluating candidates,” said Jim Demers, who was co-chairman of Barack Obama’s 2008 New Hampshire campaign and has endorsed U.S. Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey in the current contest.

Exit polls in 2016 found 68% of those who cast a ballot in New Hampshire’s Democratic primary election considered themselves very or somewhat liberal, making the state ground zero for the face-off between progressives Sanders and Warren.

Other contenders, including Biden, Booker and U.S. Senator Kamala Harris, campaigned in New Hampshire on Friday ahead of the convention.

“There is a lot at stake in this election,” Biden said at a town hall meeting in Laconia. “It’s going to take a lot of work to straighten things out.”

POLITICAL MUSCLE

All of the Democratic contenders except Wayne Messam, the little-known mayor of Miramar, Florida, will attend the convention on Saturday. They will each get seven to 10 minutes to speak.

Tickets to the dinner were offered for sale to the campaigns, meaning the most well-funded and organized will be able to pack in supporters and display their political muscle.

And while the seven-hour program of short speeches runs counter to the traditional New Hampshire fondness for face-to-face campaigning, it can still give people a sense of the contenders.

“You can get a feel for how they handle themselves. You get to contrast who appears really comfortable and who is struggling up there. It gives you a different perspective of the race,” Demers said.

New Hampshire Democrats still recall a well-received 1991 state convention speech by a relatively unknown Arkansas governor, Bill Clinton, which helped propel him to a better than expected second-place finish in the 1992 state primary and ultimately to the White House.

“This could be a game changer for a couple of candidates,” Buckley said.

(Reporting by John Whitesides; Editing by Colleen Jenkins and Jonathan Oatis)

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General Confusion
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“You don’t know who the nominee is but you”ll vote along party lines instead of who is doing the most for our country. This is what’s wrong with the sheeple Liberals/Democrats. Indoctrination has worked well on you (or on the group that posts under this name).” Charles You are confused, Chuck. It is pretty clear to anyone who actually reads her comments that Phyllis assesses candidates on more than just party lines, even though I disagree with her opinions or assessments, in a few cases. She is way better at doing that than I am and she has done nothing… Read more »

Helene Moeck
Member

The smart choice for undecided NH democrats would be DONALD TRUMP

Phyllis Softa
Member

Sorry Screw, I could not respond beneath you comment as someone else already responded. You can safely bet that on November 3rd, 2020 that I will be voting for a candidate NOT named Trump. At this early date, it is too soon to say if the candidate I cast my ballot is the Democrat nominee or a write-in. I have a list of who I will NOT be voting for on April 28, 2020, but I still don’t know who will still be in the race come April.

Steveo
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Steveo

Free healthcare for border jumpers and take 250 Million guns away from Americans. Great platform, go with it.

William Moore
Member

Let the liberals nominate camel faced kamala harris. after all she screwed her way to the top and s got the schpeil ‘n schtick down pat. She screwed willie brown, then married to get what she wanted, then she screwed the people of San Francisco as the city’s worst district attorney , she screwed California’s district attorney and she’s so far screwed the people of California as senator and if all goes according to her plans she’ll screw America for sure. Anyone see a pattern here,> If you don’t, you need to go back to school.. Oh wait, my bad,… Read more »

Paul Delfornia
Member

The Clown Bus is now in NH ,,, hope the people there are paying attention to the Lies, Deceit and Deception they are spewing. They only want Power and Control and NOT Our Nation’s nor it’s People interest first !!!

Tom Bodine
Member

Take a moment and look at these clowns faces and tell me if the light is on with any of them ?

Charles
Member

Finger pointing and mouths open. Yep, looks like a convention of witch hunters. Perhaps they can discuss all the investigations they have in store when they lose again. This would be a great place to round up all the Democrats and ship them off to England, where their loyalties lie. America would finally be at peace.

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