From Paul Steinhauser in the 603 - what to watch:

  • Joe Biden’s Granite State swing

  • Poll position in New Hampshire

  • Gillibrand, Delaney, take aim at former VP

  • Beto’s long and winding road

  • Andrew Yang - an extreme long-shot no longer


Biden’s Granite State swing

Former Vice President Joe Biden may be the clear front-runner right now in the national polls and most of the latest surveys here in the 603. But when it comes to the state’s treasured first-in-the-nation presidential primary, longtime New Hampshire Democratic Party chair Ray Buckley says “one thing that’s clear is that New Hampshire’s up for grabs, that nobody has a lock on victory in the New Hampshire primary.” But Buckley, who’s a #FITN veteran dating back more than four decades, also noted that “Joe Biden has been coming up here for 40 years, campaigning for the state party, the local committees, every nominee we’ve had since then. Along the way, he has developed some very closer personal relationships and you saw that within days of his announcement, you saw John Lynch and Carol Shea-Porter publicly announce their support. Anyone who believes that Joe Biden doesn’t have a fair shake in New Hampshire is wrong.” Buckley spoke with THE 603 ahead of Biden’s first trip to NH since launching his presidential campaign (and his first public stop in the state in more than two years).


The trip

Biden kicks his trip off Monday at Noon with an event at The Community Oven in Hampton, a popular pizza restaurant in the Seacoast (take it from me!). At 5pm, he holds a much larger event at Manchester Community College. And on Tuesday, he’ll headline a house party at the Nashua at the home of former state Sen. Bette Lasky and Dr. Elliot Lasky. Expect there to be private meetings and last minute unannounced stops during the former VP’s NH swing.


Poll Position

The latest public opinion poll conducted in the crucial primary state indicated Biden is far ahead of the rest of the pack. The former VP stood at 36 percent support among likely Democratic primary voters, according to a Monmouth University poll conducted May 2-7. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who crushed eventual nominee Hillary Clinton in the 2016 Democratic primary in New Hampshire and who's making his second straight White House run, was a distant second at 18 percent. South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg stood at 9 percent, with Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts at 8 percent and Sen. Kamala Harris of California at 6 percent. Sens. Cory Booker of New Jersey and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and former Rep. Beto O'Rourke of Texas each stood at 2 percent. Everyone else registered at 1 percent or less.
Fox News
The Monmouth University Poll

But Wait… there’s more

A survey conducted online and released earlier in the week indicated Sanders with a slight edge over Biden.Thirty percent of likely Democratic primary voters questioned in a Change Research survey released on Tuesday said they’d vote for Sanders, with 26% backing Biden. Buttigieg, a one-time long-shot for the nomination who’s surged over the past two months, was third at 12%. Warren of stood at 9% in the poll, which was conducted May 3-5 and was first reported byTHE 603. Harris was one percentage point back, at 8%. O’Rourke stood at 3%, with Booker, former Rep. John Delaney of Maryland and entrepreneur Andrew Yang at 2%. Everyone else in the historically large field of 2020 Democrats – which tops 20 candidates – registered at 1% or less in the poll.
The Change Research Poll

Gender and generational divides

The Change Research poll suggested Sanders with a nine-point lead over Biden among male voters, and the former vice president edging Sanders among women by two points. The survey spotlighted a generational divide, with Sanders leading among those 49 and younger, and Biden on top with voters 50 and older. The survey also pointed to a partisan split, with Democrats giving Biden a six point advantage, and Sanders holding a nearly two-to-one margin among independents likely to vote in the Democratic primary. New Hampshire is one of two dozen states across the county where independent voters can cast a ballot in either the Democratic or Republican primaries. Warren was the top second choice among those polled, at 19%. She also had a slight advantage over Sanders on the questions of which are the toughest and smartest candidates in the field of contenders. Biden led when asked who’s most likeable, and he also topped the field on the question of who’s most electable. But Sanders topped the field on the question of who’s considered most honest and ethical and which candidate generates the most excitement, as well as favorability.

Gillibrand says name ID’s fueling Biden’s lead

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, campaigning Friday and Saturday in NH, emphasized that Biden’s advantage in the polls is largely a matter of name recognition. “It is very early and I think there’s an enormous advantage if you do have 100 percent name recognition. And there’s an advantage if you have more coverage,” Gillibrand told reporters. Gillibrand, who’s represented New York in the Senate for the past decade, said she can beat Biden in the primaries by “building up my own name recognition, which means coming to New Hampshire over and over and talking to voters about the issues they care about.” On her poll position, Gillibrand noted “I think it’s really early. It’s obviously a marathon and not a sprint,” she said. “And my record is really different than most candidates that are running.”
Fox News

Gillibrand touts she’s the one who can beat Trump

The senator, who represented a moderate to conservative upstate New York district in the House of Representatives last decade, touted that she can win “the red places and the blue places at the same time.” Pointing to her 2018 re-election in the Senate, she spotlighted “in my last election, I won back 18 Trump counties.” Gillibrand said she can “win places like Wisconsin and Michigan and Pennsylvania,” three states that Republican President Donald Trump flipped from blue to red in 2016, helping him capture the White House.
Concord Monitor
Eagle Tribune 

The lighter side

Gillibrand opened up up to THE 603 about stopping by a drag show, playing beer pong, and her other lighter moments on the trail - "I think I'm just having fun and I don't know what the impact will be.”

Beto O’Rourke’s long and winding road

He was the rising star when he first announced his White House bid in March, but Beto O’Rourke’s lost some of his luster over the last month as he battled a growing field of 20 other candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination. The former three-term congressman from Texas, in New Hampshire this weekend, pointed out that in the race for the White House “there are a series of peaks and valleys for almost every major party candidate. Few have cruised without difficulty into victory…This is going to take time. Some days are going to be tougher than others, but the fundamentals remain the same,” he said. “It’s connecting with people, listening to them, and bringing their stories, their perspectives into the conversation, into the campaign.” O’Rourke said he won’t get down by the latest poll numbers. “I really can’t get distracted on what’s happening in the short-term,” he said. “We’re playing for the long-term in this race.” BUT he’s still attracting large crowds – a jam-packed house party in Salem on Thursday night and a well-attended event at Dartmouth College on Friday evening.
Concord Monitor
 O’Rourke joined by his wife Amy on the 2020 campaign trail (outside of Texas) for the first time


O’Rourke stops short of backing all Democrats

O'Rourke – on his last stop Friday evening, a house party in Lebanon - refused to commit his unconditional support to Democrats down the ticket in 2020 should he secure his party's nomination, in a somewhat contentious exchange with Don Nelson, the chair of the Hanover/Lyme Town Democrats.

O’Rourke says Booker’s federal gun-license plan may go ‘too far'

They’re both highlighting their ideas to curb gun violence as they run for the Democratic presidential nomination. But O’Rourke says Booker’s new proposal to mandate the federal licensing of all gun owners goes too far. Asked by Fox News on Thursday night if he agreed with the U.S. senator from New Jersey, O’Rourke answered, “I don’t know that we need to take the additional step of licensing every single firearm to every single owner. I think that may be too far.” O’Rourke – who’s a proponent of universal background checks for gun sales, an assault weapons ban, and so-called "red-flag" laws to remove firearms from people who pose a danger to themselves or others -- explained that “I come from, just like New Hampshire, a very proud gun-owning state. People who use firearms responsibly for hunting, for self-protection, for collection.” While disagreeing with Booker over federal licensing, O’Rourke did thank his rival for the nomination, saying, “I’m grateful for his work to elevate this conversation to ensure that we stop this bloodshed in this country.”
Fox News

Delaney jabs at Biden: ‘I think my ideas are better’ 

White House hopeful John Delaney apparently isn’t worried about new competition for the Democratic presidential nomination from the better-known Joe Biden. The former vice president – who enjoys immense name recognition and long and strong political ties -- quickly established himself as a front-runner in the primary race after launching his campaign two weeks ago. Delaney praised Biden, telling Fox News that Biden’s “very well-known and he’s very well liked, and I admire him greatly." But the former three-term congressman from Maryland insisted: “I think my ideas are better. I think I’m a new face, which I think is what the party really wants. I think we want new ideas and new people.”
Fox News
 Delaney takes aim at the left 

Andrew Yang - an extreme long-shot no longer

He was the longest of long shots, but Andrew Yang starting to gain a little bit of momentum in the run for the presidency. It may not be the surge that another onetime long shot – South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, has enjoyed over the past month and a half, but the entrepreneur and philanthropist from New York is surely generating some buzz. “We’re seeing bigger and bigger crowds all over the state and the country,” Yang boasted in an interview with Fox News as he campaigned in the first-in-the-nation presidential primary state of New Hampshire. “You’re seeing some of the polls have me at 3 percent here in New Hampshire and nationwide raised over $3 million.” The major reason for his recent rise -- his so-called "freedom dividend" -- may be starting to spark interest with voters.
Fox News 

Castro predicts he can win the NH primary

He may be a long-shot for the Democratic presidential nomination, but Julian Castro vows he can win New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation presidential primary. “We were in Berlin today, visiting at White Mountains Community College. I’m going to be in Dover tonight. And I’m going to be back a lot more because I can win the New Hampshire primary when the time comes in February of 2020,” the former San Antonio, Texas mayor who later served as President Barack Obama’s Housing and Urban Development secretary told SeacoastOnline. Castro was interviewed on Monday, minutes before taking a walking tour of downtown businesses in Newmarket with state Rep. Michael Cahill.

Castro pledges for Trump impeachment

Julian Castro once again urged the House of Representatives on Monday to move forward with impeachment proceedings against President Trump. Castro, a Democrat who served as mayor of San Antonio, Texas, before joining then-President Obama's administration as Housing and Urban Development secretary, made his case hours after the release of a statement by hundreds of former federal prosecutors claiming Special Counsel Robert Mueller would have recommended indicting Trump for obstruction of justice if Trump weren’t president. “The fact that you'd have almost 400 former federal prosecutors say that anybody else would have been charged with several felony counts for obstruction of justice, that says something,” Castro told Fox News on Monday.
Fox News

Klobuchar spotlights her new opioid plan during NH trip

Democratic presidential candidate Amy Klobuchar rolled out a plan to deal with the opioid crisis Monday during a visit to New Hampshire. The three-term senator from Minnesota called for $100 billion in federal spending to address addiction and mental health issues. "We've never had a president that takes this on in a big way, as we have done at the local and state levels," Klobuchar said.

Klobuchar battles in a crowding lane for heartland voters

Klobuchar says she’s not worried about Joe Biden’s entry into the jam-packed race for the Democratic nomination, as she and a growing number of candidates compete for the support of working-class voters in America's heartland. “I welcome the vice president to the race. I’ve worked with him for years. But I’m running my own campaign and I bring something that’s different to the race,” the Democrat from Minnesota told Fox News in an interview.
Fox News


On Deck

Sen. Cory Booker returns to NH on Sunday and Monday. His itinerary includes giving a commencement address at Southern New Hampshire University. Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado on Sunday makes his first visit to NH since launching his president campaign. Joe Biden – as we highlighted at the top of THE 603 – is in NH on Monday and Tuesday. And Sen. Kamala Harris returns on Wednesday for her third trip to NH since launching her presidential campaign in January.

What’s old is new again in #FITN

Every four years, we hear predictions of the demise of New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation presidential primary. But heavy campaign traffic in the Granite State during the 2020 White House race – as in election cycles past – is proving how wrong these doom and gloom scenarios are from mostly out-of-state prognosticators. Many point to a nationalization of the primary – as well as the contests in the other early voting states – thanks to the rising influence of the cable news networks and the internet starting in the 1990s, and social media over the past decade. But while a lot has changed in campaign politics over the past couple of decades – much seems to have stayed the same. That’s especially true in New Hampshire during the 2020 cycle, which has seen a renewed emphasis by the candidates and their campaigns on such tried and true types of old-school New Hampshire retail politics – from house parties and diner stops to roundtable discussions and town halls.
Concord Monitor

Chris Sununu – political pundit

New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu is weighing in on the Democratic presidential primary. The Granite State’s popular two-term Republican governor was in New York City on Wednesday, making multiple appearances on cable news and business news networks. He called Sen. Bernie Sanders’s proposals “insane” and labeled Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts a “phony.” 
Concord Monitor

2020 Dems criticize Sununu

A bunch of the White House contenders took aim at Sununu after he vetoed a Democratic backed paid family and medical leave bill that passed both houses of the state legislature. More on the bill and the veto from the Concord Monitor.

The RNC ramps up in NH

Remember, NH is much more than just the first-in-the-nation primary state. It’s also a crucial battleground state in the general election. And the Republican National Committee is once again ramping up in the state.

Staffing Up

Buttigieg campaign announces NH staff. Booker beefs up NH staff.
WMUR  and here.

'On Background'
LISTEN: Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio and former Housing and Urban Development secretary and San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro are the guests on ‘On Background,’ the (WKXL) program that’s all about NH politics.

Thanks as always for sharing - and click here to follow Paul. Have a great weekend.

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