N.H. Primary Countdown Blog - Part 2: Candidates Make Closing Pitches To New Hampshire Voters
It's the final stretch before the first primary ballots will be cast in New Hampshire, and candidates are crisscrossing the state to make their final case to voters here. Bookmark this page for updates on what the candidates are up to in these final days, what Granite State voters are saying, and more.
Note: Click here for Part 1 of our Primary Countdown Blog.
To find out where and when the candidates are appearing in New Hampshire, click here for our 2020 Candidate Tracker.
Have questions about voting? Click here for our Primary Voter's Guide.
Related: Click here to see all of NHPR's Primary coverage, including issue explainers, candidate interviews, and more. to listen to Stranglehold, NHPR's podcast about the New Hampshire Primary.
Bernie Sanders capped off his New Hampshire primary campaign by speaking to a packed arena at UNH Monday night. According the campaign, more than 7,500 people were in attendance.
The event also featured New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the rock band The Strokes.
Pete Buttigieg says this is his moment.
During his last rally before the New Hampshire primary, he told a crowd of around 1,200 inside Exeter High School that he can lead a new generation, serve the “American majority,” and defeat President Trump in November.
“Won’t it be nice to put the chaos behind us? Won’t it be good to put that corruption behind us? Who is ready to put the tweets behind us?” he asked the crowd.
Buttigieg made a strong showing in last week’s Iowa Caucuses, and he ended the rally predicting New Hampshire could also go his way.
“New Hampshire, I believe you will help make me the next president of the United States, and when you do, I will work every day to make you proud and earn that support,” he said.
"We are a multi-generational, multi-racial grassroots movement," Bernie Sanders says as he takes the state at the Whittemore Center, a 7,200-seat venue at the University of New Hamphire in Durham.
This is his largest campaign event of the 2020 election cycle, and he says tonight he's drawing three times as many people as his rivals in the Democratic primary. State Rep. Renny Cushing and Executive Council candidate Mindi Messmer just finished speaking. The night is billed as a concert rally, with The Strokes the headliner band.
Cynthia Nixon, of Sex and the City and NY gubernatorial campaign fame, is now on stage warming up crowd for Sanders. At mention of her support for Hillary Clinton in 2016, crowd begins to boo. "Oh no, we're not going to do that here." @nhpr #NHPolitics— Jason Moon (@jasonmoonNHPR) February 11, 2020
Senator Elizabeth Warren spent the final hours of the campaign pitching herself as a unifier who could fight corruption and corporate power. In an interview with NHPR before her rally in Portsmouth, Warren acknowledged voters' fears about picking a candidate who could beat President Trump, but said the only way to do that was to "choose a fighter."
"People have knocked me down and counted me out pretty much all of my life," she said. "Mitch McConnell had me right when he said, 'nevertheless, she persisted,' and that's what I'll keep doing."
With recent polls showing a surge in support for Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar, Warren has avoided attacking other candidates by name, though she repeated to NHPR a line she often says on stage - aimed at former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Ind.:
"If we're going to have a democracy in which you have to be a billionaire or suck up to billionaires in order to win the Democratic primary, then buckle up, because this is going to be a democracy that changes significantly and it will work for billionaires."
In Portsmouth, Warren pitched that message of unity, but her loudest applause came when she told the audience she would fight until the end. "I'm fighting back," she yelled to the cheering crowd. "Fighting back is an act of patriotism."
- Sarah Gibson
In Exeter, Pete Buttigieg was joined by actor Kevin Costner at a rally where the former South Bend mayor continued to pitch himself as something of a Washington outsider.
Klobuchar Asks Voters To Give Her Another Look
Amy Klobuchar touted herself as a pragmatist when she campaigned in Nashua and Exeter today.
"That is the sacred trust between the lader of our great country, and the people of our country," Klobuchar said. "I want to restore that trust. I will fight for you."
- Daniela Allee
Some of the New Hampshire voters who will head to the polls early for the state's famous midnight voting tradition are using their moment in the spotlight to shine a light on voting access for people with disabilities.
Every polling place in the New Hampshire primary will use an accessible voting system called One 4 All, which allows voters with impaired vision or other disabilities to mark a ballot privately and independently. And those ballots are the same as those used by every other New Hampshire voter.
State Representative Ed Butler, of Harts Location, is among those casting his primary ballot on the One 4 All system, marking the first time the equipment is used during a presidential primary.
“Voting should be accessible to everyone, and for those people who are disabled it can be more difficult and it’s just important for people to know across the spectrum that voting is a right and it is possible for everyone, no matter what your ability,” Butler said.
The system will also be used in Dixville Notch during its midnight vote. Any New Hampshire voter can use the One for All System, if they choose.
Bernie Sanders is holding a rally tonight featuring the rock band The Strokes. Jason Moon is reporting from the event at the University of New Hampshire main campus in Durham.
Never been good at estimating crowd sizes but safe to say final Bernie Sanders event of NH primary will have a handful of people in attendance. @nhpr #nhpolitics pic.twitter.com/ppk9HQwFu1— Jason Moon (@jasonmoonNHPR) February 10, 2020
Amy Klobuchar is making her final pitch to New Hampshire voters.
The Minnesota senator told a crowd of more than 500 people inside Exeter Town Hall this afternoon that she's the best-positioned candidate to beat Donald Trump - as a moderate Democrat with the experience and temperament to succeed in November.
"And it is on us, to bring people with us, instead of shutting them out," she said, "And I've always told people that if you are tired of the extremes in our politics, and the noise and the nonsense, you have a home with me."
Klobuchar is seeing a surge in recent polling after a fifth-place finish in the Iowa caucus.
- Todd Bookman
Lisa Alarcon and her daughter, both from Nashua, have crisscrossed the state to see nearly all the candidates in the last 48 hours.
Alarcon says she gave up on trying to figure out who is most electable. "I'm voting with my heart," she said, and that vote is going to Elizabeth Warren.
Alarcon's daughter is all in for Tom Steyer because, "he cares about climate change and has a lot of YouTube ads."
- Sarah Gibson
Supporters of President Donald Trump are gathering in Manchester this afternoon in advance of a pre-primary rally Trump is holding at the SNHU Arena this evening. Photo by Dan Tuohy.
NHPR's Sarah Gibson is with the Elizabeth Warren campaign in Rochester, where the Massachusetts senator is holding a rally at the local opera house.
Warren supporters at the event say they're not paying much attention to the latest polls, which put their candidate in fourth place in New Hampshire.
Rochester opera house crowd for @ewarren, which still has some empty seats in the balcony. Supporters I spoke to say in spite of surge of Buttigieg and Klobuchar in polls, they’re still banking on campaign’s ground game to GOTV tomorrow. #nhpolitics #FITN pic.twitter.com/AXTcQXn0aI— Sarah Gibson (@schadgibson) February 10, 2020
People coming to see Andrew Yang filled a movie theater in downtown Concord today to hear the New York businessman make his final pitch before tomorrow's primary.
Yang took questions about his Universal Basic Income plan, foreign policy, and federal funding for the opioid crisis.
"Our government has to come and say, 'Look, this plague that has been destroying our families and communities - it's on us, and we have to do everything we can to put those resources to work," Yang said.
Yang's audience included dozens of undecided voters. Yang posed for selfies with the crowd, which included many people who said they were seeing Yang for the first time.
- Annie Ropeik
NHPR's Josh Rogers is in Nashua, where Amy Klobuchar is attending a Rotary lunch.
“I think there’s more media here than Rotarians,” a peeved looking Rotary-type notes as we await Klobuchar at Rotary lunch in Nashua. pic.twitter.com/zp3xGUuu7w— Josh Rogers (@joshrogersNHPR) February 10, 2020
A registered Republican at Klobuchar’s Nashua event tells me he could vote for her. When I tell him he can’t change his party affiliation at the polls, he pauses, and says, “that’s disappointing.”— Josh Rogers (@joshrogersNHPR) February 10, 2020
Bernie Sanders is making his closing argument to voters across the state today. At a breakfast event in Manchester, he touted the strength of his campaign's infrastructure in New Hampshire.
"We got TV ads and we got radio ads and all that stuff," Sanders said. "But we have had thousands of people knocking on doors, talking to their neighbors all over the state. I am told that on Saturday, Saturday alone, our volunteers knocked on 20% of the doors in the state of New Hampshire in one day.
Sanders' final campaign event will be a concert rally with the rock band The Strokes at UNH tonight.
- Jason Moon
Sanders arrives at Ultimate Sports Academy, says he will now deliver a martial arts performance. Best joke of his campaign for my money. @nhpr #nhpolitics pic.twitter.com/sdakYgxEhY— Jason Moon (@jasonmoonNHPR) February 10, 2020
It's the final day before the polls open in New Hampshire. Click here see our candidate tracker to find out where - and to whom - campaigns will be making closing arguments.
Are you a voter with questions about how the primary works, where to vote, or new voting rules? Click here for our N.H. Primary Voter's Guide.
Bookmark this page for coverage from NHPR's news team throughout the day.
When Joe Biden was asked about his fourth place finish in the Iowa caucuses earlier today, the former vice president responded that Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg did a great job and were "better organized than we were organized."
He then portrayed the first two caucus states, the first-in-the-nation primary state, and South Carolina as one big opening salvo in a long road to the Democratic nomination.
"I've viewed from the beginning," he added, "that you have to take the first four as one."
The candidates are pitching their closing arguments before large crowds today. Both the campaigns of Amy Klobuchar and Pete Buttigieg are offering crowd sizes of more than 1,000. Bernie Sanders will equal or surpass those numbers with rallies Monday, including his primary eve event at the University of New Hampshire's Whittemore Center Arena. And President Trump will address several thousands at the SNHU arena in Manchester.
But these big audiences are not all New Hampshire voters, reporters note. NHPR's Lauren Chooljian and Casey McDermott encountered several non-residents while trying to interview likely voters.
The gym floor is pretty full, but the first three people I approached were from Mass. As with most N.H. primary events this week, it’s hard to draw many meaningful conclusions from crowd size. pic.twitter.com/TRkxFj55yA— Casey McDermott (@caseymcdermott) February 9, 2020
Pete Buttigieg is holding a town hall event at Salem High School, where voters lined up to see the former mayor of South Bend speak to another large New Hampshire crowd. Photo by Michael Brindley.
Elizabeth Warren held a Get Out The Vote rally at Rundlett Middle School in Concord today, where Rep. Ayanna Pressley, Warren's campaign co-chair, helped hype up a crowd of New Hampshire voters.
"She's an active listener," Pressley said. "When you meet her at a town hall or event on Main Street, she listens, and then she responds with my love language - policy."
"At this point I'm probably overthinking it," said Sarah Choudhury, an accountant who lives in Chester. She and her husband, both in their 30's, are deciding between Sanders and Warren.
Choudhury was surprised by how in-depth the event in Concord was.
"I didn't expect her to go through her whole bio, I guess she's trying to sell her background."
- Sarah Gibson
On the Republican Primary front, former Massachusetts governor Bill Weld campaigned in Exeter this afternoon, talking with voters at Water Street Books. Photos by Todd Bookman.
Weld described himself as a moderate Republican who can unite the country. But he did acknowledge some of President Trump’s advantages.
“The president is not without his skill sets,” Weld said. “He has animal cunning. So does a fisher cat, of course. And he has the nerve of a burglar, which is very helpful in politics. It is also helpful in burglary, of course.”
Weld said he plans on continuing his campaign through Super Tuesday, regardless of the outcome in New Hampshire. Trump will be in Manchester Monday, making his own case to New Hampshire voters.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar spent the weekend criss-crossing the state, talking about the economy, education reform, and what she'd do to address climate change. But Klobuchar has also been trying to capitalize on her debate performance Friday night and is delivering a more urgent message to undecided voters: If you're looking for someone to defeat Donald Trump, I'm your candidate.
Heidi Holman, from Warner, made a last-minute decision to come to the rally after watching the debate.
"A lot of the voices and talk was going by, and all of I sudden I started listening and I realized it was when she spoke," Holman said. "I'm feeling like I have a candidate that I might want to support."
- Daniela Allee
Crowd filing in for Bernie Sanders town hall in Hanover. So far most Dartmouth students I speak to say there isn't a clear favorite candidate on campus. @nhpr #nhpolitics pic.twitter.com/l9vS9gLabB— Jason Moon (@jasonmoonNHPR) February 9, 2020
Joe Biden is holding a get out the vote rally in Hampton Beach. NHPR's Dan Tuohy is there:
Follow NHPR on Twitter for the latest from our reporters on the campaign trail.
NHPR's Lauren Chooljian is tracking the Buttigieg campaign in Nashua:
Ok I’m inside now, stood in the middle of a section of the packed bleachers and yelled out “is anyone here from NH?” And only one person responded. Long story short: Unclear how many people are here from NH or elsewhere #nhpolitics https://t.co/DIAYoFyJdM— Lauren Chooljian (@laurenchooljian) February 9, 2020
Copyright 2021 New Hampshire Public Radio. To see more, visit .