Amy Klobuchar is feeling jubilant about her rise in fortunes, a third-place finish in New Hampshire that had her drawing support from both Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren. The Minnesota Democrat’s finish — behind only Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg, and ahead of Elizabeth Warren and Joe Biden — is buoying her political fortunes and making her a serious contender in future primary contests.
Her campaign, she said, had beaten the odds, giving her the opportunity to introduce herself to voters outside of New Hampshire.
“Hello, America. I’m Amy Klobuchar and I will beat Donald Trump,” Klobuchar announced after walking onstage in New Hampshire. “My heart is full tonight. While there are still ballots left to count, we have beaten the odds every step of the way.”
The moderate Democrat captured voters’ attention in debates, particularly in Friday night’s debate in New Hampshire, where she impressed pundits and voters alike. She was also the first to speak during the Iowa caucuses, a savvy media move, while other candidates may have been waiting to see whether the state party would be able to release any results that night (it didn’t).
On Tuesday night, Klobuchar praised her supporters and thanked them for pushing her campaign forward.
“We love you New Hampshire!” Klobuchar said to an enthusiastic crowd. “Because of you, we are taking this campaign to Nevada. We are going to South Carolina.”
During her speech, Klobuchar herself identified the coalition she believes she can attract to forge a path to the Democratic nomination: “a movement of fired-up Democrats, of independent moderates and Republicans that see the election as we do.” These are the voters, she suggested, who see the election as a “patriotism check” and a “decency check.”
The Minnesota senator received a boost in New Hampshire from a few specific groups that she’ll also be relying on in the coming states. CBS News exit polling data shows Klobuchar did particularly well among those 65 years and older, and among college graduates. And she did especially well among white, female college graduates.
She also gathered strong support from people who regularly attend religious services. Klobuchar split the support of moderates with Buttigieg. New Hampshire Democratic primary voters who made their decision in the last few days helped make the difference for Klobuchar, as well as those who factored the recent debate into their decision in the polling booth Tuesday.
Klobuchar has been consistent in her messaging that she’s a thoughtful, pragmatic moderate who can get things done in Washington because it’s what she’s already been doing in the Senate. On the trail, she touts her record of working across the aisle, and she’s isn’t afraid to push back against liberal policies like “Medicare for All.”
Since Friday’s debate, she has also been bringing up that she was theto raise a hand when moderator George Stephanopoulos asked if anyone was worried about having a democratic socialist — Sanders — at the top of the ticket.
So, what’s next for Klobuchar? After the adrenalin boost of New Hampshire, in the near term, she’s adding more than 50 staffers in Nevada, and staffing up in Super Tuesday states.
One campaign aide said Klobuchar will be “springboarding” into Nevada, South Carolina and Super Tuesday states like Colorado, Tennessee, North Carolina and Minnesota.
She plans to go to Nevada on Thursday, then on to the Super Tuesday states.
But her path forward isn’t clear yet in all areas. Klobuchar is struggling with support from black voters, a challenge ahead in South Carolina. And she lacks the financial resources afforded to some other candidates, such as Bernie Sanders, who has been consistently outraising the rest of the Democratic field.
Klobuchar fought her way to a strong finish in New Hampshire on Tuesday night. But as the race turns to larger and more diverse states, she still has some battles ahead in her quest for the Democratic nomination.
Kathryn Watson, Adam Brewster, Grace Segers, Musadiq Bidar contributed to this report.