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Warren Turns To Ground Game Volunteers To Defy Expectations In N.H.

Sarah Gibson/NHPR

This weekend, thousands of volunteers for Sen. Elizabeth Warren knocked on doors across New Hampshire. The Warren campaign has been banking on this moment - in the final hours of the campaign here - to capitalize on months of grassroots organizing and turn undecided voters into Warren supporters.


On Saturday at Manchester Community College, that effort was in full swing. Volunteers were getting trained throughout the day, going out for a few hours at a time, then heading back to check in with staff at turf tables. After lunch, volunteers returned for a pep talk from Warren herself. Warren told them, despite anxiety about her campaign, she’s a winner.


"Now you’re getting ready to knock on doors and do a little democracy," Warren said. "But here’s the thing: there are already people starting to get really worried; worried that this fight against Donald Trump might not be winnable. You know, the way I look at this, I’ve been winning unwinnable fights all my life."


Afterwards, volunteers brought maps, phones, and a bunch of fliers to hang on doors. They have the typical Warren talking points and information for each voter on the hours and address for their polling location.



Credit Sarah Gibson for NHPR
A Warren GOTV flier in Manchester.


Outside, the weather was rough: icy sidewalks, lots of wind, and many voters not answering their doors.


Eventually, canvasser Amy French, who came up from Boston with a group of friends, rounded the corner and reported some success.



“The first person was undecided," French said. "Her first choice was Warren; the other one was [Amy] Klobuchar. But she said her top priority is health care, and she’s a big universal healthcare supporter, so that’s a good sign for us. The second person was totally undecided.”


Canvassers are still seeing a lot of these undecided voters in the primary's final days.


One of them is Ken Meade of Laconia. He said he's been Meade visited by Warren canvassers but they’re not the only ones in his neighborhood.


He listes them off: “Buttigieg, Warren, Klobuchar, Bernie, Bernie, Bernie."


This poses a challenge for Warren’s campaign, which is betting big on the ability of their canvassers to sway undecided voters. On Sunday, the campaign also brought in local political celebrities, including Massachusetts Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley, to help in the final push.


Credit Sarah Gibson for NHPR
A group of canvassers listen to Senator Elizabeth Warren in Concord.


Pressley told the crowd that Warren is a fighter, and a listener.


"You leave an impression on her," Pressley said. "She may not remember your name but she will remember your struggle, your story, your idea, and then she responds, with my love language: policy.”


Policy gets a lot of air time, even in the final push of this campaign. When Warren got up after Pressley, she gave her usual stump speech - about an hour long - and answered lots of questions about those policies.


After all of it, Meade, the Laconia man, says he’s still unsure, and might not decide until he’s in the voting booth on Tuesday.

Sarah Gibson joined NHPR's newsroom in 2018. She reports on education and demographics.
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