MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — With New Hampshire’s vote in the rear-view mirror, Democrats running for president now shift their campaign focus to Nevada and South Carolina.
Sen. Bernie Sanders won Tuesday night’s primary, with Pete Buttigieg close behind in second.
But the surprise of the night was Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar. After finishing third, it was as if she was starting all over.
Exit polls showed that 50% of New Hampshire voters decided who to vote for in the final days, and of those, 24% went to Klobuchar.
“A third place finish for Sen. Klobuchar was indeed a win in that it increases interest in her campaign,” University of Minnesota Professor Kathyrn Pearson said.
Klobuchar poured most of her resources into Iowa and New Hampshire. The next contest are the Nevada caucuses on Feb. 22, and the South Carolina primary on Feb. 29. Both states are far more diverse than Iowa and New Hampshire.
Klobuchar is at 3% in Nevada polls, and 2% in South Carolina.
Last week, the Klobuchar campaign sent Minnesota State Sen. Melisa Franzen to Nevada to meet with Latino leaders. Franzen is a native of Puerto Rico.
“We were really just trying to get a sense of where people were at in terms of who they were supporting,” Franzen said. “A lot of the candidates initially supported are no longer in the race, so we were pitching for Amy Klobuchar.”
Franzen is confident that Klobuchar will gain support.
“As more people realize and learn about Amy Klobuchar and her financial and fiscal policy, I think it attracts a lot of Latinos,” Franzen said.
And historically, doing better than expected in New Hampshire can deliver later wins.
“If we think back to 1992, Bill Clinton, the comeback kid, sort of self-proclaimed, he didn’t win,” Pearson said. “But the fact that he did better than expected is what propelled him in 1992.”
Klobuchar finds herself competing in these more diverse states at the same time she is receiving renewed attention about the prosecution of Myon Burrell for the 2002 murder of 11-year-old Tyesha Edwards.
Klobuchar offered her most forceful statement to date Tuesday on that issue, calling for a review of the case.