MANCHESTER, N.H. – A top adviser for Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign pushed back at anyone criticizing the small margin of the senator’s victory in the New Hampshire Democratic primary on Tuesday.
Sanders, I-Vt., ended up winning by fewer than two percentage points even though he was polling with a double-digit lead in one poll as recently as last week.
“Folks will remember in the fall that, in fact, we were behind,” said Jeff Weaver, a senior adviser for the Sanders campaign, who was its campaign manager in 2016. “At one point, Elizabeth Warren was ahead here. There was polling that had Pete Buttigieg winning here. So I think, maybe you should ask those campaigns about why they had leads that did not materialize tonight.”
Sanders won New Hampshire by 22 percentage points in the 2016 New Hampshire Democratic primary against Hillary Clinton.
Weaver said most important was Sanders won the coalition of supporters he needs to beat Trump, pointing to working-class voters in place slice Manchester, young voters and the small number of minority communities in New Hampshire.
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“Bernie Sanders is putting together that coalition. He did it in Iowa. He did it here and now we’re going to go to Nevada and do it again,” Weaver said.
Some have speculated that Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s late rise in New Hampshire might have taken votes from the second-place finisher, former South Bend, Indian Mayor Pete Buttigieg, helping Sanders to victory.
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Weaver rejected that suggestion, saying he believes Klobuchar’s ascension was “stunted” in Iowa because she, like Sanders, had to spend time in Washington for President Donald Trump’s impeachment hearings. He said he respects the “grit” Klobuchar has shown by overcoming limited resources in the campaign.
“But I think at the end of the day people are looking for more transformative change, and I think that will be evident as we go down through the process.”
– Joey Garrison