NASHUA, N.H. — The absence of a clear political triumph in Iowa put both Democratic candidates in unexpected positions coming into New Hampshire. Hillary Clinton is digging in for a tough fight against Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont in next week’s primary in New Hampshire, according to her advisers. Clinton is trying to spark political momentum and fund-raising energy after only a razor-thin victory in the Iowa caucuses. Things have come a long for the former First Lady, who once was considered a sure winner, goes to New Hampshire trailing behind her rival by at least 20 points, and especially after a razor thin victory in Iowa.
The Clinton campaign had considered shifting its focus to Nevada and South Carolina, which hold nominating contests later in February. But Clinton, with the strong support of former President Bill Clinton, decided she would help herself more by closing the gap in New Hampshire, where polls show Sanders with a double-digit lead. The Clintons even hope she might pull off an upset win here, as she did in 2008, given their long history of campaigning in the state. “This is going to be a great week of campaigning,” Clinton said.
For the Clintons, the New Hampshire primary holds an emotional attachment. It is the state that made Bill Clinton the “Comeback Kid” after he overcame scandal to place second here in 1992. Hillary Clinton said she “found my own voice” in New Hampshire in 2008 with a surprise victory here after finishing third in Iowa.
Some analysts say, the uncertain outcome in Iowa dealt a jolting psychological blow to the Clinton campaign, leaving volunteers, donors and aides confused throughout the night, and then crestfallen. Hillary Clinton urged the voters who gave her a surprise win in 2008 to get behind her again. “New Hampshire, come with me this week,” she told the crowd in Nashua just before The Associated Press called the Iowa race. A woman shouted, “We are!”
According to reports, Sanders and his team are said to be making plans to spend more than $1 million on television commercials in an attempt to solidify his advantage. He also drew about $3 million in donations in the 24 hours after his caucus speech Monday night, his campaign said; with $28 million on hand, compared with Mrs. Clinton’s $38 million, Sanders advisers expressed confidence that he would not stumble like other insurgent presidential candidates of the past.
Sanders had hoped to unnerve Clinton by eking out a win in Iowa, and instead found himself trying to spin gold out of his “virtual tie” with her in the caucuses. Yet he and his advisers welcomed the sudden prospect of increased competition from Clinton here because it played into the expectations game as the Sanders campaign would like to play it.
The Clinton campaign has already sought to dismiss any potential victory by Sanders here as irrelevant, given the state’s history of rewarding candidates from New England. “I know I am in a contest with your neighbor,” Mrs. Clinton saidTuesday night in Hampton, N.H. “We are in his backyard.”
Sanders has vowed to campaign hard across New Hampshire and said that as in Iowa, his campaign would focus on getting supporters to the polls on election night. “Secretary Clinton won here in 2008,” he told a group of reporters in Keene after a rally. “Secretary Clinton has a very formidable political organization and, as you know, has virtually the entire political establishment on her side. So, you know, we are taking nothing for granted.”