CONCORD, N.H. — Needing a boost in a New Hampshire primary critical to her campaign’s future, Sen. Elizabeth Warren deployed a slew of major surrogates across the state in a last push for Tuesday’s vote.
While many of the events were smaller canvassing kickoffs, Warren gathered the three co-chairs of her campaign in Rundlett Middle School gym in front of a crowd that started lining up two hours in advance. Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Deb Haaland and Katie Porter — all freshmen in the House who’ve made headlines in the first year of their tenures — pushed the message that Warren was the best candidate to defeat President Trump.
Pressley, who made history as the first black woman to represent Massachusetts in Congress after winning a contested primary in 2018, was a target of Trumpian tweets last year as part of “the Squad,” four first-term Democrats including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib. The other three have endorsed Sen. Bernie Sanders.
“I love that she’s unapologetic on the policy matters,” Pressley said of Warren. “I love that she’s unapologetically aspirational and what these plans prove is that the aspiration is attainable.”
Haaland, who represents a New Mexico district that includes Albuquerque, is one of the first two Native American women to win seats in the House and proved a powerful ally for Warren last year as the senator navigated a controversy over her claims to indigenous ancestry. In her remarks, Haaland said she was proud to support Warren “because she supports Indian country.”
A former student of Warren’s at Harvard Law, Porter flipped a traditionally Republican seat in Orange County, Calif., and has had a number of viral moments from congressional hearings, where she has drilled JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson.
“This message of a fair economy,” said Porter, “that I ran on with Elizabeth’s endorsement and help, I won Republican voters, I won independent voters, I won Democratic voters. … That is how we’ll win: by building a big, broad coalition and unify our country to fight for an economy that’s fair for all of us.”
With the compressed schedule, Warren opted out of her traditional photo line with supporters, letting Pressley, Haaland and Porter fill in for her. She gave an abbreviated 15-minute version of her autobiography that is a staple of her stump speech and took eight questions from the audience.
Warren enlisted other members of the Massachusetts congressional delegation to cross the border on her behalf. That included Sen. Ed Markey, who has been the chamber’s leading voice on the Green New Deal, addressing an issue that’s been mentioned at nearly every Democratic event over the past week. Joining Markey was Rep. Katherine Clark, a member of the House Democratic leadership team, along with Reps. Jim McGovern and Lori Trahan. Maura Healey, the Massachusetts state attorney general, also kicked off canvassing efforts.
After Warren’s third-place finish in Iowa, the latest round of New Hampshire polling has been inconsistent, with Warren generally in third place behind Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg, but with numbers ranging from 9 percent to 17 percent. The Massachusetts senator has been thwarted by Sanders among progressives, while Buttigieg has peeled off some of the affluent white voters who drove Warren’s brief ascent last summer. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who received an unusual joint endorsement from the New York Times along with Warren, represents another choice for voters whose priority is nominating a woman.
Warren had a solid debate performance on Friday night, but by her own admission, it fell short of the effort she needed to make a mark in a still-confused field, saying afterward, “I just didn’t say enough, didn’t fight hard enough, didn’t tell you how bad I want this and how good we could make it if we just come together.” But while hailing from a neighboring state doesn’t necessarily translate into more votes by itself, it does provide a ready source of volunteers, fueling hope that a strong canvassing organization can push the large swath of undecided voters into Warren’s camp. Her campaign likely depends on that wave of support, from the big-name surrogates to the out-of-state door-knockers.
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