2020 Daily Trail Markers: Candidates plan for road ahead

Caitlin Conant

Democratic presidential candidates are now setting their sights on Nevada, South Carolina and the Super -uesday states, after New Hampshire was able to do what Iowa could not: decide a winner on the day of its Democratic nominating contest. 

Bernie Sanders pulled off a narrow victory Tuesday night with 25.8% of the vote. Pete Buttigieg earned 24.5% and Amy Klobuchar had a strong third place finish at 19.8%.  Now, candidates are set to face a series of contests where the populations reflect a much more diverse electorate.

"Well one of the things that we have built-in is I think a unique multi-generational, multi-racial coalition," Sanders told CBS News Political Correspondent Ed O'Keefe in a one-on-one interview Wednesday when asked about his path moving forward. "I think what you're going to see in Nevada and you're going to see in South Carolina, is us doing very very well within the African-American community and the Latino community and among working class folks in all the states."

While Sanders may have finished first in New Hampshire, he did not win the overwhelming victory he saw in his 2016 primary against HIllary Clinton. However, he argues it's not a cause for concern, noting the field is substantially larger than it was four years ago.

"In terms of yesterday's vote, you know last time four years ago, I ran against one person. This time we have eight people. You're not going to get the same percentage of the vote as you did last time," Sanders told O'Keefe.

This year Sanders did win the support of younger voters by large margins – those ages 18 to 29. He won 51% of that group – one of his strongest demographic groups, notes CBS News campaign reporter Nicole Sganga. Sanders earned the lion's share of votes in college towns Durham, Keene and Plymouth, in addition to population powerhouses Manchester and Nashua. Statewide, his support was 8 points lower among women than among men. The Vermont lawmaker also garnered the most support of those earning under $50,000 a year (34%) beating Buttigieg (20%) by double-digits among this group. 

Meanwhile, Mayor Pete Buttigieg was right on Sanders' heels in New Hampshire and broke even with him in terms of delegates awarded in the state's primary with nine apiece.

"We did this by reaching out everywhere. We took no vote for granted and left no vote on the table," Buttigieg told O'Keefe this morning fresh off his second place finish. "And what we found is that there is tremendous appetite for a message that can deliver bold changes and offer to do it in a way that's unifying."

Buttigieg currently leads in the delegate count based on Iowa and New Hampshire results, but he avoided calling himself the front-runner, saying his campaign is "humbled by the road ahead" and knows how much work there is to do.

The former South Bend mayor performed particularly well in New Hampshire's southeastern suburbs of Boston – including the solid Republican towns of Salem, Pelham and Windham. Among New Hampshire Democrats with incomes of $100,000 or more, Buttigieg (34%) led the field, followed by Klobuchar (21%), and Sanders (18%). Buttigieg led among women (26%), coming out only slightly ahead of Klobuchar and Sanders, who were tied at 23% here.

Senator Amy Klobuchar proved once more New Hampshire is always ripe for a surprise, earning third place following a strong debate performance Friday. Klobuchar won the affluent Republican suburb of Bedford, a frequent campaign stop just outside Manchester. She performed best among seniors getting 31% of their support, followed by Buttigieg (24%).

"Because of you, we are taking this campaign to Nevada. We are going to South Carolina!" Klobuchar announced to excited crowds in Concord, New Hampshire, Tuesday night at her primary watch party. After New Hampshire's springboard, the Minnesota senator will add more than 50 staffers in Nevada by tomorrow, with plans to bolster operations in Super Tuesday states like Colorado, Tennessee, North Carolina and her native Minnesota. Her campaign announced over $2.5 million in new fundraising since polls closed yesterday at 8pm, 61% of whom are new donors.

At the same time, neither Elizabeth Warren nor Joe Biden, who came in fourth and fifth Tuesday, were able to crack 10% in the first in the nation primary or pick up any delegates in the Granite state. Both signalled they're soldiering on despite the setback, reports CBS News Political Unit AP Sarah Ewall-Wice.

On Wednesday, former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick announced he was suspending his campaign effective immediately. His exit from the Democratic primary race comes after both Andrew Yang and Michael Bennet both announced they would be ending their presidential bids Tuesday night as New Hampshire results trickled in. There are now eight candidates vying for the Democratic nomination.

FROM THE CANDIDATES

MICHAEL BLOOMBERG

Today, the campaign for former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg released endorsements of three members of the Congressional Black Caucus. This comes a day after audio of a 2015 speech at the Aspen Institute leaked, during which Bloomberg can be heard defending the controversial policing practice, stop-and-frisk.  Rep. Greg Meeks (NY-11), Rep. Lucy McBath (GA-6) and Rep. Stavey Plaskett (USVI)  all threw  their support behind the former New York mayor, despite the fallout.

At an event in Chattanooga, TN CBS News Campaign Reporter Tim Perry asked Bloomberg if he or his campaign would ever provide a financial incentive for an endorsement.

"Of course not." Bloomberg said. "But we have supported elected officials around this country for a long time."

Bloomberg cited his involvement in the 2018 midterm elections as an example.  He added that his funding helped put House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in the position to begin the impeachment proceedings.  He also told CBS News that he doesn't think his comments from the 2015 speech will impact his performance with black voters.

"I think people look at it and they say 'those words don't reflect Michael Bloomberg's way he governed in New York City, the way he runs his company, the way his philanthropy works,'" he said, adding, "I think we are going to do very well in the African-American community. They need a good economy, they need better schools, they need more healthcare, they need jobs and those are the kinds of things that I can bring them."

ELIZABETH WARREN

Fresh off her fourth place finish in New Hampshire, Elizabeth Warren's campaign appears to be canceling ad buys and shifting funds in Nevada and South Carolina. 

According to Kantar Campaign Media Analysis Group tracking, on Wednesday she canceled nearly $520,000 in ads in South Carolina as well as nearly $60,000 on ads in Nevada, reports Ewall-Wice. 

However, the campaign told CBS News Campaign Reporter Zak Hudak that while it cut more than $370,000 from South Carolina on Tuesday, it added more than $365,000 in Nevada and Maine for TV ads and $40,000 in radio and print ads in South Carolina yesterday. 

This comes after the campaign also cut down on ad reservations in South Carolina and Nevada last week. When asked about cancellations as Iowa results were still being sorted out, Warren said she always wants to be careful about how her campaign spends its money.  

But in a fundraising email on Wednesday, Warren acknowledged the New Hampshire results were a disappointment. "It hurts to care so much, work so hard, and still fall a little short," the email read. It went on to urge supporters to "walk around the block, eat an extra piece of chocolate, hug your pet… whatever works." But then the campaign calls for supporters to get right back to it and "make a plan – a plan to fight back and win."

This reinforces the strategy Warren's team has recently turned to, reported Hudak. In an email to supporters ahead of the New Hampshire primary, campaign manager Roger Lau said that after Iowa, "The remaining three early states of New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina appear poised to keep the race wide open." 

Warren has staffers in over 30 states, and she has recently said frequently that her campaign is "built to last." Lau said the campaign's internal polling shows she is behind only Sanders and Biden in terms of how many Super Tuesday districts she'd be eligible in.  

But the campaign's shifting of ad money in Nevada and South Carolina suggests that because the first two states didn't turn out as the campaign had planned and hoped, and that now it has to make adjustments for its 1,000 plus staffers in order to have the money to compete on Super Tuesday. 

STATE-BY-STATE

IOWA

Troy Price has resigned as the chairman of the Iowa Democratic Party, CBS News campaign reporter Adam Brewster has confirmed, after a bungled Iowa caucus saga that has yet to yield any certified final results. Price made the announcement in a letter to the Iowa Democratic Party's State Central Committee.  Price's resignation will be effective following the election of an interim chair on Saturday at a State Central Committee meeting. 

"The fact is that Democrats deserved better than what happened on caucus night," Price said in the letter obtained by CBS News. "As chair of this party, I am deeply sorry for what happened and bear the responsibility for any failures on behalf of the Iowa Democratic Party. While it is my desire to stay in this role and see this process through to completion, I do believe it is time for the Iowa Democratic Party to begin looking forward, and my presence in my current role makes that more difficult. Therefore, I will resign as chair of the Iowa Democratic Party effective upon the election of my replacement."

NEVADA

Coming off top finishes in Iowa and New Hampshire, the Bernie Sanders, Pete Buttigieg, and Amy Klobuchar campaigns touted Wednesday that they too are swelling their ranks in Nevada as the contest enters its final stretch before Caucus Day on February 22, and early voting is set to kick off in the state in just three days on February 15, reports CBS News campaign reporter Alex Tin. 

The Bernie Sanders operation now numbers more than 250 in the state across 11 offices. Behind Sanders is Pete Buttigieg with nearly 100 staff across 12 offices, Joe Biden with more than 80 staff across six offices, Tom Steyer with more than 60 staff across four offices, Elizabeth Warren with more than 50 staff across 12 offices, and Amy Klobuchar who's campaign is ramping up to 50 staff across one office. 

Klobuchar faces a unique challenge as one of the last of the top-polling candidates to build out an operation in the contest, where campaigns have had months to recruit and train hundreds of volunteer precinct captains for caucus sites across Nevada.

SOUTH CAROLINA

Hours after Pete Buttigieg exhibited a strong show of support in the New Hampshire primary contest, his South Carolina team announced an endorsement from S.C. Representative J.A. Moore—arguably the team's most prominent state endorsement to date. Moore, who formerly backed Senator Kamala Harris, told CBS News campaign reporter LaCrai Mitchell that the former mayor of South Bend is the "truest representation" of the millennial generation. He added that Buttigieg speaks for the next generation in a substantive way.

"He's a 38-year-old mayor of a small town who had the audacity to run for president? What's more millennial than that?," asked Moore. "We've been at war longer than any other generation, we're the generation that has to deal with mass shootings, everything that our generation has faced from a country perspective, Pete in a real way has been an active part of that."

While Buttigieg's standing has arguably been buoyed by successful outcomes in the first two early states the next two early states — Nevada and South Carolina — have more diverse electorates and could pose challenges for Buttigieg and other candidates who have continued to poll low amongst non-white voters. 

In a recent Quinnipiac poll, 4% of African-Americans said they would vote for Buttigieg in the Democratic primary. However, Moore maintains that any candidate who doesn't have a long-standing national profile will have challenges with this demographic and others.

"What Pete has shown with the first two contests is that he's able to build other demographics outside of race. He's been able to build coalitions of different ages, regions, [and] urban versus rural support," said Moore. "He's shown from a campaign perspective he has the ability to build a diverse coalition…now the uphill battle is seeing if he can continue to build on coalitions he's already built." 

Along with Moore's endorsement, the campaign announced today that it will be expanding its South Carolina operation to include 55 staff members and that 6 field offices are located throughout the state.

Meanwhile, former Vice President Joe Biden was nowhere near New Hampshire when his projected poor performance in the state's primary was realized Tuesday evening. Instead, in an impromptu move, he co-hosted a launch party in the state that he's considered a lynchpin to his success from the very beginning—South Carolina. In an address to at least 100 voters, Biden told the group that despite lackluster performances in the first two states, the race was far from over, reports Mitchell.

"We just heard from the first two states — two of them. Not the whole nation, not half a nation, not a quarter of the nation. Not 10 percent. Two," said Biden during his remarks in Columbia Tuesday evening. "I said this many times, you can't be the Democratic nominee and you can't win the general election as a Democrat unless you have overwhelming support from black and brown voters, it's just really simple." 

The same sentiment was echoed on a conference call Wednesday, where the Biden campaign announced another pending bus tour throughout the state and said that Biden would return to the state the week before the primary. As candidates head into this next stretch, Biden assured voters that he recognized the importance of support within the African-American community and made a promise to the group.

"Too often your loyalty, your support, your commitment to this party have been taken for granted, I have never once in my career since I got involved as a kid taken you for granted," said Biden. "And I never ever, ever will." 

CONGRESSIONAL COVERAGE

IN THE HOUSE

Congresswoman Lucy McBath's endorsement of Michael Bloomberg adds to a list of "Frontline" or battleground district House Democrats that have endorsed the former New York City mayor reports CBS News broadcast associate Aaron Navarro. Six House Democrats have backed Bloomberg: McBath, Haley Stevens of Michigan, Mikie Sherrill of New Jersey, Harley Rouda of California and Ben McAdams of Utah. 

PACs founded by Bloomberg poured millions into several House races in 2018, including $2.2 million for Stevens' race and $1.25 million to McBath from his Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund. Joe Biden currently has the most endorsements from Frontline Democrats, with eight. 

Meanwhile, Mr. Trump Tweeted some endorsements of Republican House challengers on Wednesday. Claudia Tenney in New York's 22nd, Nicole Malliotakis in New York's 11th and Wesley Hunt in Texas' 7th were some of the endorsed candidates running in competitive districts. While praising most of their Conservative values, he did mention impeachment in his tweeted endorsement of Malliotakis, "@NMalliotakis is running for Congress in NY, I know her well, we need her to defeat Max Rose, who voted for Impeachment!" Rose has $2.5 million cash on hand, according to the latest FEC filing.

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