Amy Klobuchar is set to take the stage in Cary, N.C., for a Fox News Channel town hall at 6:30 p.m. ET, as she hopes to revitalize her struggling presidential campaign ahead of Saturday’s South Carolina primary and the 14 key Super Tuesday races next week.
Klobuchar, who posted an unexpectedly strong third-place finish in New Hampshire’s primary but fell to sixth place in the Nevada caucuses, has sought to boost her support among centrists in less delegate-rich states that other candidates haven’t showered with attention. Her campaign has also committed to a $4.2 million advertisement buy in Super Tuesday states.
The Fox News town hall, to be hosted by Fox News’ Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum, comes days after Klobuchar aggressively took on frontrunner Bernie Sanders at Tuesday night’s rowdy primary debate, saying his sweeping government plans simply aren’t affordable. The one-hour event will offer Klobuchar another opportunity to dent the self-described democratic socialist’s increasingly strong path to the nomination.
At a Fox News town hall last May, Klobuchar emphasized that her brand of relatively moderate progressive politics stood the most chance of actually achieving results (“The last time I checked, if you want to be a progressive and support progressives, then you’re supposed to make progress,” Klobuchar said.) She also asserted that universal health care was a “privilege and not a right,” and intimated that there were some aspects of President Trump’s tax bill that she would retain.
“What happens in South Carolina does matter, mostly because of what the coverage is going to be over the three days leading up to Super Tuesday. If someone seems out of the running, they’re going to lose value,” said Achim Bergmann, a Democratic strategist whose firm does work in a number of Super Tuesday states. “It’s a tough deal for the candidates who are perceived to be at the lower rungs at the moment to figure out where can they get some juice.”
Democratic presidential candidate U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., shakes hands with a supporter after a roundtable discussion on voting rights at the International Civil Rights Center & Museum in Greensboro, N.C., on Thursday, Feb. 27, 2020. (Khadejeh Nikouyeh/News & Record via AP)
Klobuchar and her rivals have faced logistical challenges because of the large number of states voting on Tuesday, which comprise a third of the total delegates needed for the nomination.
“It’s a very difficult time, logistically, to try to balance all this,” acknowledged Sanders adviser Jeff Weaver. “Suddenly, now you have contests all across the country, and candidates just have to do the best they can.”
For example, Pete Buttigieg had planned to swing down to Florida, which votes later in March, for three private fundraisers Wednesday. He abruptly canceled the events and a public campaign stop in the Miami area because of illness. His aides said he had flu-like symptoms.
Buttigeig met with members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and did media interviews in Washington, D.C., before returning to South Carolina on Thursday for another round of campaigning.
On Wednesday, Joe Biden, who is polling far ahead in South Carolina, turned heads by saying that other candidates would “have to consider dropping out” if they underperform in the diverse state.
They would have to consider dropping out, not because I want them to or anybody else does, but because the victories and losses are going to dictate it,” Biden told The Post and Courier. “How do you stay in if you have demonstrated you can’t get any African American support? How do you stay in if you don’t get support in South Carolina? So I just think the process is going to take care of that. I don’t think it requires anybody to say, ‘get out of the race.’”
Klobuchar, however, hasn’t shown any signs that she may pull out — and neither have Elizabeth Warren, Mike Bloomberg, and other challengers behind Sanders. Should a candidate exit the race, delegates committed to that candidate could choose to support other candidates at the Democratic National Convention.
Fox News’ Bret Baier, Martha MacCallum, Tyler Olson, and The Associated Press contributed to this report.