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Amy Klobuchar gets her moment in New Hampshire

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) gave a shoutout to Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), who earlier tonight congratulated Klobuchar on "showing just how wrong the pundits can be when they count a woman out."

Posted: Feb 12, 2020 9:10 AM
Updated: Feb 12, 2020 9:10 AM

Amy Klobuchar finally got the moment she desperately needed.

Now the question is whether she can hold on.

Klobuchar, who looked on track to finish in third place in New Hampshire, strode to the stage at a hotel here in Concord with the confidence of a candidate who, after a year's worth of fits and starts, finally got a chance to introduce herself as a winner.

Her newfound status, after months as an underdog, means she now faces the litany of challenges that confront a candidate who defied expectations but has yet to face substantial scrutiny over her background. And her operation in coming primary contests -- Nevada, South Carolina and the Super Tuesday states -- is meager, compared to her rivals.

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"Hello, America," she said to cheers on Tuesday night. "I'm Amy Klobuchar and I will beat Donald Trump."

The crowd followed her lead, chanting, "Beat Trump, vote Amy."

"My heart is full tonight, while there are still ballots left to count, we have beaten the odds every step of the way," Klobuchar said. "We have done it on the merits, we have done it with ideas, and we have done it with hard work."

Klobuchar sought to hold on to her underdog status by pointing out she had been counted out before.

But then the senator nodded to the night that changed her campaign: Friday night's Democratic debate in Manchester.

"Then they predicted that we wouldn't make it to the debate," she said wryly. "And man, were we at the debate in New Hampshire."

A strong debate turn

The senator turned in her strongest debate performance of the cycle last week, pitching her pragmatic progressivism to an electorate who -- for the first time -- would vote mere days later.

"I do not have to biggest name up on this stage, I don't have the biggest bank account. I'm not a political newcomer with no record, but I have a record of fighting for people," Klobuchar said passionately. "I'm asking you to believe that someone who totally believes in America can win this, because if you are tired of the extremes in our politics and the noise and the nonsense, you have a home with me."

Klobuchar's campaign was almost instantly imbued with more momentum than they had ever experienced. They raised millions in the following 24 hours, were crowned the debate's winner by many pundits and, most importantly, saw a massive influx of help in New Hampshire, with 3,000 new volunteer shifts getting booked between the debate on Friday night and primary night, four days later.

The senator had turned in plenty of strong debate performances, using her nimbleness to gamely hammer candidates across the Democratic spectrum. But none garnered the kind of reaction she got on Friday night.

Supporters who had never donated to her campaign logged on in the minutes after and donated. Her events began to swell in New Hampshire, with overflow crowds becoming the norm. And even casual Democrats began to feel the urgency around her candidacy.

"This is the only political event we've come to," said Adeline George, a New Hampshire voter from Seabrook who wasn't supporting the candidate before the Democratic debate. "She meets the measure. She really does impress us."

Klobuchar, as the momentum swelled and her campaign reached its one year-anniversary, even began joking with people in New Hampshire, "We launched a full year ago, but we're finally surging."

Even the expectations of top Klobuchar aides began shifting around the debate. Before the contest, senior Klobuchar aides confided that they would have been fine with a finish in the top five.

After the debate, though, internal expectations began to match those outside the campaign, with an aide telling CNN that "anything in the top four" would be acceptable.

On Tuesday night, Klobuchar celebrated defying expectations.

"Tonight in New Hampshire, as everyone had counted us out even a week ago -- thank you, pundits -- I came back and we delivered," she said.

Can her momentum carry her forward?

Now, though, the difficult part begins.

Klobuchar is also about to experience an uptick in scrutiny -- namely of her tenure as county attorney of Hennepin County, the largest in Minnesota. Klobuchar got a taste of this in the days leading up to the New Hampshire primary. When questioned about the case of Myon Burrell, a teenager who was sentenced to life for the killing of 11-year-old Tyesha Edwards, Klobuchar struggled to defend the totality of her record.

More pressingly, though, the Minnesota senator has shown no ability to win over Latino or black voters, the backbone of the Democratic electorate, and voting blocs that will be key to any success Klobuchar may have in Nevada and South Carolina, the next states in the nominating contest.

And the senator's operation in the forthcoming early states -- Nevada, South Carolina and the Super Tuesday states that will vote on March 3 -- is paltry compared to other campaigns.

The Klobuchar team scrambled after Iowa to move a bulk of their organizers to New Hampshire and others to Nevada. The expectation is that organizers currently in New Hampshire will quickly make their way to Nevada and South Carolina in the coming days, a senior aide said.

The campaign currently has 50 staffers in Nevada, according to an aide, many of whom are newly on the ground and transplants from Iowa. And, partly with the money the campaign expects to raise from its strong finish in New Hampshire, Klobuchar's campaign announced a seven-figure ad buy in Las Vegas and Reno, Nevada, that will focus intently on taking on Trump and her plan for her hypothetical first 100 days in office.

The campaign's plans for South Carolina are less clear. Aides would not disclose how many staffers they have on the ground and it does not appear that the state will get the same kind of influx of money as Nevada.

And the aide told CNN that by this weekend they will have staff deployed in several Super Tuesday states, but not all of them.

"Tonight is great," said a senior campaign aide. "Tomorrow, the works starts."

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 132122

Reported Deaths: 2381
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hennepin33719984
Ramsey13909358
Dakota9686137
Anoka8552150
Washington583071
Stearns574343
Scott334834
Olmsted323230
St. Louis291267
Wright243214
Clay228043
Nobles225716
Blue Earth20367
Carver17677
Sherburne166521
Kandiyohi16585
Rice16289
Mower150815
Winona124319
Crow Wing99021
Chisago9812
Lyon9596
Waseca9279
Benton9238
Beltrami8767
Otter Tail8517
Todd7865
Steele7563
Itasca71917
Nicollet71817
Morrison7129
Douglas6723
Freeborn6664
Le Sueur6205
Polk6184
Martin61117
McLeod5884
Watonwan5784
Goodhue57311
Becker5513
Pine5310
Isanti5275
Chippewa4293
Carlton4231
Mille Lacs40115
Dodge3920
Hubbard3792
Wabasha3700
Cass3665
Pipestone34517
Meeker3253
Rock3244
Brown3203
Yellow Medicine2815
Cottonwood2760
Murray2753
Redwood27111
Roseau2590
Fillmore2570
Renville25011
Sibley2493
Faribault2280
Wadena2243
Jackson2081
Kanabec20510
Swift2011
Unassigned20153
Houston1971
Pennington1851
Lincoln1820
Stevens1811
Aitkin1772
Koochiching1674
Pope1550
Big Stone1360
Wilkin1334
Lac qui Parle1323
Lake1180
Norman1140
Mahnomen1102
Marshall1101
Clearwater1050
Grant964
Red Lake772
Traverse550
Lake of the Woods441
Kittson380
Cook130

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 114201

Reported Deaths: 1620
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk18758288
Woodbury712294
Johnson580330
Black Hawk551098
Linn5420129
Dubuque510957
Scott444638
Story397318
Dallas342044
Pottawattamie320444
Sioux239616
Buena Vista224512
Marshall199536
Webster182415
Plymouth163527
Wapello150762
Clinton145726
Muscatine142058
Cerro Gordo135425
Des Moines135410
Crawford135214
Warren12147
Carroll111412
Jasper108134
Henry10465
Marion98310
Lee94310
Tama93737
Delaware76212
Dickinson7257
Wright7161
Boone7119
Mahaska67824
Bremer6619
Washington65011
Harrison64611
Jackson5963
Benton5692
Lyon5427
Clay5244
Louisa51715
Winnebago47419
Hardin4697
Hamilton4664
Winneshiek4669
Kossuth4600
Poweshiek45411
Cedar4445
Buchanan4434
Jones4344
Floyd43011
Emmet42317
Clayton4073
Iowa3968
Cherokee3922
Page3890
Sac3894
Mills3871
Guthrie38415
Franklin38018
Cass3783
Fayette3684
Shelby3671
Butler3662
Allamakee3608
Madison3563
Chickasaw3461
Clarke3453
Humboldt3203
Hancock3124
Palo Alto3092
Grundy3035
Calhoun3004
Osceola2721
Mitchell2670
Howard2669
Monroe25811
Monona2411
Jefferson2341
Taylor2312
Union2294
Appanoose2233
Pocahontas2212
Lucas1996
Fremont1971
Ida1882
Greene1840
Van Buren1722
Davis1704
Montgomery1687
Keokuk1601
Adair1551
Decatur1490
Worth1420
Audubon1411
Wayne1173
Ringgold882
Adams790
Unassigned140
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