Presidential candidate Amy Klobuchar held a Get Out The Vote rally at Southern New Hampshire University Sunday. The senator from Minnesota, who is rising rapidly in the latest polls in this state, packed the venue with supporters and undecided voters.
The midday event drew in a crowd so large, many attendees could not make it inside and instead lined a staircase just outside the venue to listen to Klobuchar’s remarks.
Before the event was able to officially kick off, organizers came to the stage a number of times to inform the audience that at least 50 chairs would need to be removed from the stagefront due to capacity issues. Only after as many people as were packed in, did Klobuchar come to the stage lined by two U.S. flags and a state of New Hampshire seal.
Even after Klobuchar was introduced, it took her almost two full minutes to actually make it to the stage. This left the audience chanting, most of them holding their phones up to record her entrance.
Brenda Mendoza-Friedman, 60, was in attendance to show her support for Klobuchar. She said she is from Massachusetts, but also has a home in Puerto Rico.
“This election, more than any, is important. It’s more important for the Latinos. We need a progressive realist, with experience, who understands how to handle the situation that we’re in, in this country,” Mendoza-Friedman said.
She believes that Klobachar is the “progressive, realist” candidate that would best aid immigration reform. Mendoza-Friedman said that unless Klobuchar is elected president, “We will lose our country.”
“We are a country of immigrants. Spanish is the second speaking language of this country. She knows this, this is wonderful,” she said.
Mendoza-Friedman also recognized the fact that New Hampshire is “not necessarily representative of the Latino vote,” but acknowledged other states that will be holding primaries in the coming months.
“Going into California and more of the urban east, you’re going to see that this is going to be a much bigger issue,” she said. “That’s why I came, because we are a factor and there are many Latinos who are not registered to vote. We have to bring up the vote, including here in New Hampshire. It’s very important.”
Klobuchar briefly mentioned immigration during her speech at SNHU. “Immigrants don’t diminish America, they are America,” she said.
She also spoke about a policy to allow for the refinancing of student debt loans and the investment into preschools, and schools from kindergarten to grade 12.
Health care was also addressed during the event. Klobuchar proposed that she will make the Affordable Health Care Act “better,” and create a non-profit public option for American citizens. She also said that she is prepared to take on the pharmaceutical industry and acknowledged that many believe that their lobbyists “own Washington.”
“They probably do own Washington, but they don’t own me,” she said.
To lighten the mood, Klobuchar shared stories about winning electoral races, “all the way down to fourth grade.” She also informed the audience that her slogan from that time was, “All the way with Amy K.”
Klobuchar created another rhyme about her electoral success. “I’ve won every race, in every place,” she said. Klobuchar added that people did not believe that she would make it this far and mentioned last Friday night’s debate.
“They thought that I wasn’t going to make it to the debate, and did I ever make it to the debate,” she said.
The audience didn’t only include Klobuchar supporters. There were also undecided voters that came to see what Klobuchar had to say in Manchester, NH. Mary Lussier, 62, said she is in a “panicked state” because she is still an undecided voter only a few days before the primary.
“I had intended to vote for Joe Biden and I think after the polls and the debate the other night, New Hampshire’s not going to work for Joe. I’ve decided that I have to look for another moderate. I consider Joe to be a moderate. I adamantly do not want a socialist. I’m really trying to find the best option at this point, and I think it might be Amy. Either Amy or Pete [Buttigieg],” said Lussier.
Lussier believes that being an undecided voter could potentially be due to how early in the election cycle New Hampshire votes. If there was a “narrower field to choose from,” the vote may be easier, according to Lussier. She also acknowledged the responsibility of having the first primary in New Hampshire.
“On the other hand, having the first of the nation primary is really a wonderful responsibility, that we take very seriously. It’s an honour and I am happy to be a part of it, well, I don’t know if I’m happy to be a part of it every four years, but it is an honour,” she said.
As a resident of New Hampshire, every four years, things can get chaotic due to the primary, Lussier said.
“We go back to being New Hampshire again [after the vote]. Right now, I think the majority of people that I see are not from New Hampshire. It’s a lot of campaign staff, a lot of reporters. It’s wonderful to see the enthusiasm, there’s a lot of young people that come in from across the country. The day after the primary, it’s just wonderful to get back to a good old New Hampshire again,” said Lussier.
Klobuchar ended the event by taking selfies with the many audience members, while a portion of the crowd still stood in a stairwell. During her closing remarks, she spoke on how she “cannot wait to debate Donald Trump.”