Amy Klobuchar came out of the New Hampshire primary Tuesday night with a surprise third place finish and a burst of momentum for her campaign heading into Nevada and South Carolina.
She defied early expectations, most of which did not see her making it past the first round of primary contests, let alone besting Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren in one of them.
She only trailed Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg in the first-in-the-nation primary.
The Minnesota senator choked up bit when she thanked her supporters at her primary night party.
‘My heart is full tonight. While there are still ballots left to count we have beaten the odds every step of way,’ she said. ‘Thank you New Hampshire. We are on to Nevada because the best is yet to come.’
Amy Klobuchar came out of the New Hampshire primary Tuesday night with a surprise third place finish
She thanked New Hampshire and said her heart was full
Her strong finish will bring a new level of attention to her campaign, which she acknowledged in her remarks Tuesday night – along with touting her ability to beat President Donald Trump in November.
‘Hello America. I’m Amy Klobuchar and I will beat Donald Trump,’ she said after she took the stage, her husband and daughter at her side.
Klobuchar ranked near the bottom of the polls when she entered the presidential contest in February of 2019, famously giving her kick off speech in a Minnesota blizzard.
She touted her ability to emphasize with those struggling financially and appealed to those tired of the polarized politics as she ran a shoe string campaign through Iowa and New Hampshire.
She racked up the endorsement of The New York Times – and the Quad City Times of Iowa – but it wasn’t until her strong performance in Friday night’s debate that momentum came her way.
Klobuchar pointed out how pundits counted her down and out.
‘There were a lot of people who predicted I would not even get through that speech,’ she said of her snow-covered beginning.
‘Then they predicted we wouldn’t last the summer. We did,’ she noted.
‘And then they predicted we wouldn’t make it through the debate and man, were we at the debate in New Hampshire,’ she added. ‘Across the months and months and miles of this race, we redefined the word grit.’
‘As everyone counted us out even a week ago – thank you pundits – I came back and delivered,’ she said. ‘I never give up.’
Klobuchar ran her campaign based on her Minnesota moderate pragmatism and her folksy, quick with a quip image. She skyrocketed ahead of Biden and Warren after a strong debate performance on Friday, collecting enough donations – $3 million as of Monday – and support to push her to the next round of contests.
But while moderates and independents – who can vote in New Hampshire’s primary – have flocked to her, she has not captured the progressive wing of the party, which tends to dominate in primary contests.
She acknowledged that Tuesday night.
‘I cannot wait to build a movement and win with a movement of fired up Democrats and independent and moderate Republicans,’ Klobuchar told the crowd.
Amy Klobuchar greets supporters with her daughter Abigail Bessler and husband John Bessler
Amy Klobuchar began her presidential campaign during a blizzard last February
Klobuchar has campaigned on her ability to beat Donald Trump
She asked supporters to stick with her and to donate to her campaign.
‘I don’t have that big bank account. I don’t have that big name of some of those people in the race and I’m not a political newcomer with no political record. What I have is your back,’ she said as she asked for their support.
The New Hampshire crowd was fired up.
While Klobuchar’s crowd of supporters waited for her to speak, they tried out a variety of chants and cheers: ‘Let’s go Amy’; ‘Every race, every place, every time, win big’; ‘All of us, all of us, all of us’; ‘She knows us’; ‘Who do we want? Amy? When do want her? 2020’; ‘Go Amy, Beat Trump’; and ‘Beat Trump, Vote Amy.’
In the end, they just shouted ‘Amy, Amy, Amy.’
An Amy Klobuchar supporter at her primary party Tuesday night
Tuesday started off well for Klobuchar when she came out ahead in one of the state’s quirkier traditions: the midnight vote.
Residents of three small towns in the northern part of the state gather at their polling places at midnight to vote, making them the first official results in the state.
The Minnesota senator won two of the three midnight tallies: Hart’s Location with six votes and Millsfield’s with two.
The closely-followed Dixville Notch, which has a population of only 12 people, went to billionaire Mike Bloomberg, who wasn’t even on the ticket.
Amy Klobuchar came out ahead in one of New Hampshire’s quirkier traditions: the midnight vote
Amy Klobuchar waves to supporters when she gets off her campaign bus on Tuesday during a stop at the Webster Elementary School polling place
New Hampshire has a partially open primary election, meaning those not registered with a political party can vote in both the Democratic and Republican primary elections. However, the state does not have a fully open primary because those registered with a party can only vote in that party’s elections.
And Kloubuchar’s campaign saw its momentum and donations grow after her strong performance in Friday night’s debate.
The Minnesota senator had voters lined up out the door and banging in the rafters on Monday after she surged to third place in two New Hampshire polls that came after that debate.
‘I need your help,’ Klobuchar told a rally in Exeter, New Hampshire.
‘Right now we are on the cusp of something really great,’ she said, her voice cracking with emotion, ‘but I can’t call everyone you know. So I’m asking you to do that today.’
She made her appeal as a new dynamic appeared in New Hampshire in the 24 hours ahead of its crucial primary: Klobuchar burst ahead of Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren in two polls – the same spot she would end up in Tuesday night.
Amy Klobuchar had voters lined up out the door after she surged to third place in two New Hampshire polls
Klobuchar answers questions from the press after a New Hampshire campaign stop
Klobuchar has run a bare boots campaign reflective of her previous lower still status. Monday’s rally had no walk-on song and no celebrity introduction – just a line of people out the door.
The Minnesota senator’s event saw voters standing outside the door to listen after the fire marshal shut down the town hall center due to capacity.
And she promised the crowd in the overflow room she’d stop by, leading them to stamp on the floor – a sound that reflected through the town hall center.
‘Hello to the people in the overflow room,’ she said as the crowd banged with their feet. ‘I love that. They’re finding a way to express themselves. We hear your voice. Just don’t break the overflow room.’
Amy Klobuchar is coming off a strong performance in Friday’s debate
Klobuchar’s speech was full of zingers, comebacks – when one person shouted out, asking her what she would do if President Donald Trump wouldn’t debate her, she responded she’d call him ‘chicken’ – folksy stories, policy positions and cheery anecdotes.
The crowd responded with laughter and cheers.
‘If this is what the election is going to be like, it’s going to be really good,’ she responded.
She did a packed day of five campaign events to try and capitalize on her new momentum.
Klobuchar said she raised $3 million dollars over the weekend after her strong performance in the Democratic debate, where she attacked then-front runner Pete Buttigieg for his lack of experience.
At Friday’s debate, Buttigieg, who declared himself the victor in Iowa in the wake of its caucus debacle, took the hits that come with front runner status.
Biden and Klobuchar questioned whether he had the capacity to successfully face off with Trump, questioning whether he has the experience to lead the nation.
Buttigieg, who served two terms as mayor of South Bend, a city with a population of 100,000, said the Washington insider experience of some of his rivals was no longer what was needed, and it was time to ‘turn the page’ on the old Washington politics.
‘I freely admit that if you’re looking for the person with the most years of Washington establishment experience under their belt, you’ve got your candidate, and of course it’s not me,’ he said.
Klobuchar hit back claiming that ‘it is easy to go after Washington, because that’s a popular thing to do. It is much harder … to lead and much harder to take those difficult positions’.
Then she dug into the fresh-faced Buttigieg: ‘Because I think this going after every single thing that people do because it’s popular to say and makes you look like a cool newcomer, I just – I don’t think that’s what people want right now. We have a newcomer in the White House, and look where it got us. I think having some experience is a good thing.’