The spotlight might be on the Iowa caucuses Monday night, but U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet plans to be in New Hampshire, where the Colorado Democrat is banking on a surprise finish in next Tuesday's primary to catapult him from the back of the pack into the front ranks of White House contenders.
James Carville, the veteran Democratic strategist who steered Bill Clinton to come from behind with a stronger-than-expected finish in New Hampshire 28 years ago, appears in a new Bennet campaign ad set to air in New Hampshire during President Donald Trump's State of the Union address on Tuesday, Bennet's campaign said.
"He has less in common with Donald Trump than any human being on the planet when it comes to worldview, priorities, and demeanor," Carville said Sunday in a Bennet fundraising email. "Michael is the opposite of Trump and is the best Democrat to take him on."
Carville also plans to campaign with Bennet next weekend in New Hampshire, delivering his message that if the Democrats nominate Bennet, it will spell "the end of Trumpism."
“When this ad airs on the night of the State of the Union, it will be a reminder of how much is at stake in this election and why Michael is the best candidate to beat Donald Trump — the number-one thing voters are worried about ahead of the primary,” said Bennet campaign spokeswoman Shannon Beckham in a statement.
Bennet is set to hold a town hall in Manchester on Monday night while the other candidates are in Iowa, his campaign said.
The former school superintendent also plans to visit a high school government class Tuesday morning in Hudson.
His campaign said he's closing in on the 50 town halls he vowed in early December to conduct in New Hampshire before the primary, with just a handful left before the Granite State's residents vote.
While polling in New Hampshire shows a tight race between leading candidates Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren and Pete Buttigieg, Bennet argues that the majority of Democratic voters have yet to commit to a candidate and are open to his pitch.
Bennet found at least three converts Sunday at a town hall in Dublin, local newspapers reported.
“Yesterday I thought I was voting for Amy Klobuchar and today it’s him,” a Peterborough resident in his 70s told the Keene Sentinel, in an article forwarded by Bennet's campaign.
The Sentinel quoted another Peterborough resident who said he switched to Bennet after hearing what he had to say.
"He knows his facts and he’s got a plan, and he doesn’t promise impossible things. He’s from the heartland, and I think the Democrats need to nominate someone who can speak to the heartland."
The Monadnock Ledger-Transcript quoted a Mont Vernon resident who said he would vote for Bennet, partly because he was concerned his family in Missouri will vote for Trump if Warren or Sanders is the Democratic nominee.
“I’m looking for who can beat Donald Trump,” the man said, adding that Bennet "can beat him if he can get some support here.”