Trump grabs spotlight ahead of New Hampshire Democratic primary
President Donald Trump will look to upstage Democrats on Monday by holding a campaign rally in New Hampshire a day before the state’s primary vote.
After Democratic presidential candidates commanded the spotlight over the weekend with campaign stops across the state, Trump and Vice President Mike Pence will address a crowd of supporters at 7 p.m. inside the Southern New Hampshire University Arena. Polls close at the same time Tuesday night.
The president has repeatedly mocked Democrats for their chaotic Iowa caucus last week that yielded no clear winner in the state and said Monday he’s traveling to New Hampshire in order to “shake up the Dems a little bit.”
The rally is part of the Trump campaign’s strategy to try to spook the president’s rivals by showing off its financial and organizational might in key early states, even without Trump facing a serious primary challenge.
Trump grabbed front page headlines in the Des Moines Register days before the Iowa caucuses by holding a rally and flooding the state with campaign and administration officials. He has since capitalized on the bungled caucus to argue that Democratic candidates would be incapable of governing the country.
The campaign is using a nearly identical approach in New Hampshire, announcing last week that Republican Senators Lindsey Graham and Rand Paul would be among more than a dozen surrogates deployed to the Granite State ahead of Tuesday’s primary.
“While the Democrats are still shaking off the embarrassment of their Iowa caucuses disaster, Team Trump remains organized and focused, and we intend to move New Hampshire into the win column in November,” Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh said in a statement.
Trump’s appearance comes at a pivotal moment in the Democrats’ primary race. The final Boston Globe/Suffolk/WBZ tracking poll showed Senator Bernie Sanders in the lead in New Hampshire with 26% of likely primary voters, followed by former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg at 19% and Senator Amy Klobuchar at 13%. Former Vice President Joe Biden, once the field’s front-runner, and Senator Elizabeth Warren are each polling around 11%.
Trump has seized on the popularity of Sanders, a self-proclaimed democratic socialist, to argue the entire Democratic field as too far left. Murtaugh said the campaign’s main goal would be to “remind voters of the dangers of the Democrats’ big-government socialist agenda.”
The president will likely offer the rally audience his own analysis of the Democratic horse race, especially the battle for third place among Biden, Warren and Klobuchar.
“It’s also very sad how he’s doing – how he’s doing in the polls,” Trump said of Biden on Friday at the White House.
Democrats argue that for all the divisiveness of the primary, Trump’s appearance will galvanize the party’s voters.
“Donald Trump’s visit to New Hampshire on the eve of the primary is the best thing that could have happened to New Hampshire Democrats,” New Hampshire Democratic Party spokeswoman Holly Shulman said in a statement after Trump’s rally was announced.
“With Trump reminding us of his broken promises to Granite Staters – from his refusal to lower prescription drug prices to his administration stacked with lobbyists to his efforts to end a woman’s right to choose – even more independent voters will be motivated to cast a vote in our primary and against Trump on February 11th,” Shulman said.