- Amy Klobuchar, who had recently been polling well below rivals, is out-performing Joe Biden and Sen. Elizabeth Warren
- Klobuchar seems poised to exceed the 15% threshold over which she’ll get delegates.
- A third-place finish would keep the senator in the race and position her as a viable alternative to other candidates competing for moderates.
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Sen. Amy Klobuchar exceeded expectations in the New Hampshire primary, over performing her recent polling and, if early results hold, earning her delegates when higher-polling rivals may go on to Nevada emptyhanded.
On the day of the primary, Klobuchar polled at 11% on average in Real Clear Politics’ aggregator of New Hampshire polls in a tie with former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Elizabeth Warren.
In the chaotic February 3 Iowa caucuses where Klobuchar expected to do well, she came in fifth place, earning one pledged towards the nomination.
Since announcing her presidential campaign in February 2019, the senator from Minnesota has generated enthusiastic support from many Democrats — and even some conservatives — who see her the most solid option to take on President Donald Trump in 2020.
For most of the primary cycle, Klobuchar was crowded out of the moderate lane by Buttigieg, who led her among white and college-educated voters, and especially by Biden, who bested the other candidates among non-college educated and particularly black and Latino voters.
But her candidacy got a second look ahead of Tuesday’s primary with a breakout debate performance on February 7, which may have held more sway in New Hampshire.
—Alex Seitz-Wald (@aseitzwald) February 11, 2020
The three-term senator and former prosecutor is by all accounts a liberal, but further towards the ideological center of the Democratic Party than many other 2020 candidates. She also has a long history of both winning over rural, Republican areas in her home state of Minnesota and effectively working with Republicans on legislation.
Klobuchar is counting on her reputation as a measured, pragmatic moderate with a hard work ethic, a no-nonsense approach, and a “Minnesota nice” demeanor to dominate particularly among Midwestern voters — and pose a stark contrast to Trump.
At a February 2019 CNN town hall, Klobuchar declined to support provide free four-year college tuition and called programs like Medicare For All and the Green New Deal — which most other 2020 Democrats support — “aspirations.” Klobuchar offered up more incremental changes, like expanding Medicaid access and allowing students to re-finance college debt.