Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg skipped the New Hampshire primary two weeks ago. But now that it’s over, his campaign here is growing.
A large blue bus, emblazoned with “Mike Bloomberg 2020,” pulled up to the campaign’s new office in Manchester Monday evening.
Inside, about 15 people milled about, picking out free swag -- Bloomberg totes, T-shirts, and baby onesies -- and eating chicken tenders from the Puritan Backroom.
Jill Carney, of Windham, said she's not convinced any of the candidates who just left New Hampshire can beat President Trump.
“[Bloomberg] is the only one who can beat this guy, I'm convinced," she said. "He knows the con artist he's dealing with. He's a New Yorker. And I think because he's a billionaire, it makes him a better candidate.”
Better, she said, because he can outspend Trump.
Bloomberg’s spending - a reported $400 million of his personal wealth so far - has drawn the ire of other candidates and some of their supporters. His campaign is spending big on everything from TV ads to staff salaries, including in New Hampshire.
But Bloomberg's staffers say he's putting his money to good work by fighting climate change and supporting good causes.
One surrogate, Glen Hooks, a chapter director in Arkansas for the Sierra Club who is working part-time for the Bloomberg campaign, pitched Bloomberg Monday as the original climate candidate.
“When President Trump pulled us out of the Paris Agreement, [Bloomberg] committed $10 million of his own money to fill in the gap in funding that was going to cost. This is someone who has led on the international stage and the national stage,” he said.
Hooks, who had just hopped off the bus from Vermont and was headed to Maine later that night, urged the crowd to vote for Bloomberg several times before being reminded New Hampshire has already voted.
Ryan Mahoney, the new state director, admitted the timing is odd. He was hired the day after the primary election, as staffers from other campaigns were leaving the state.
He said they're trying to turn voters and political leaders here onto Bloomberg before the Democratic Convention this summer, but that Bloomberg will put his weight behind whoever gets nominated and spend whatever it takes to win.
“He's going to be committed to winning in New Hampshire in November whether he's at the top of the ticket or it's a different nominee,” Mahoney said.
Mahoney said the campaign plans to hire about a dozen staff in New Hampshire and hopes to open a Concord office soon.