EXETER, N.H. – Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, joining her Democratic colleague Sen. Maggie Hassan on the campaign trail in battleground New Hampshire with just two days to go until the midterm elections, urged a crowd of party activists and supporters “to turn out the vote.”
Hassan, a former governor and first-term senator, is fighting for her political life as she faces a stronger than expected challenge from Republican Senate nominee and retired Army Gen. Don Bolduc.
“I won this seat by 1,017 votes statewide,” Hassan told the crowd packed into the Rockingham County Democrats’ offices in Exeter, New Hampshire, as she harkened back to her 2016 razor-thin victory over then-GOP Sen. Kelly Ayotte.
“That’s what we call in the business a field margin. That’s what happens when people are going out and talking to their friends and neighbors, making the case. Reminding them that Tuesday’s Election Day.… this is all really, really, important stuff,” Hassan said.
Hassan’s once upper-single digit lead over Bolduc has disappeared and it’s now a margin of error showdown in a race that’s among a handful across the country that will likely determine if Republicans win back the Senate majority.
Playing defense, Democrats have called out the cavalry to help boost Hassan in the closing days of the campaign.
First lady Jill Biden joined the senator on the campaign trail last weekend. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, the progressive champion, made the short trip from neighboring Massachusetts to team up with Hassan on Friday. Labor Secretary and former Boston Mayor Marty Walsh stumped with the senator on Saturday and Klobuchar teamed up with Hassan at multiple stops on Sunday. And they were joined at a Nashua, New Hampshire, rally by Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.
Buttigieg and Klobuchar are both well known by New Hampshire Democrats, after their second- and third-place finishes in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary in the state, which for a century’s held the first primary in the White House race.
“When we look back to the 2020 primary – who really drew out independents or, in the case of Pete Buttigieg, future former Republicans – it was Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar,” New Hampshire Democratic Party treasurer and 2018 congressional candidate Maura Sullivan told Fox News. “And having them here is a good reminder to the undeclared voters of the shared values that they have with Sen. Maggie Hassan.”
Hassan told the crowd in Exeter that “having Amy Klobuchar here – it’s great energy and friendship for me” and called the senator from Minnesota a friend to New Hampshire.
Many in the crowd were headed out to knock on doors in last-minute get-out-the-vote efforts.
Minutes later, in a brief interview with Fox News, Hassan noted that “the stakes are really high here, and it just really helps to have friends come in to energize people who are working so hard at the doors.”
Bolduc is also getting some high-profile surrogates to join him in the Granite State.
Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, who served as ambassador to the United Nations during the Trump administration, was returning Sunday evening to team up with Bolduc for the third time in the past six weeks. And National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) chair Sen. Rick Scott of Florida campaigned with Bolduc last Sunday.
The race in New Hampshire was almost written off a month ago, as Hassan held a healthy lead in the polls. Senate Leadership Fund, the top super PAC backing Senate Republican incumbents and candidates – which had poured eight figures into the race to boost Bolduc – pulled out and took the final $5.6 million it was going to spend in New Hampshire and moved it to other states.
But just as the tide shifted toward the GOP nationwide since Labor Day, the polls in New Hampshire tightened up, too. The NRSC reinvested in the race, and a couple of pro-Republican super PACs dished out big bucks on behalf of Bolduc.
Bolduc wasn’t the first choice for many national Republicans to take on Hassan, who due to her lackluster poll numbers was viewed for nearly two years as vulnerable.
An outside group loosely linked to longtime Senate GOP leader Sen. Mitch McConnell spent seven figures to boost Bolduc’s main rival in the mid-September primary, mainstream conservative state Senate President Chuck Morse, whom they viewed as a stronger general election candidate.
And the top pro-Democratic super PAC – the Senate Majority PAC aligned with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer – spent seven figures boosting Bolduc, viewing the retired general as a weaker challenger to Hassan than Morse.
Seven weeks later, Bolduc is neck and neck with Hassan in the final days of the midterm campaign.
Asked if Democrats made a mistake pumping up Bolduc in the GOP primary, Hassan told Fox News, “We always knew this race was going to be really close,” and emphasized that “I don’t control obviously what outside groups do.”
“It speaks to the need to get dark money out of politics,” the senator added as she touted her efforts to do just that.