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Amy Klobuchar's mission in Nevada: 'I have to get people to know me'

Matt Pearce, Los Angeles Times on

Published in News & Features

NORTH LAS VEGAS, Nev. -- Amy Klobuchar wants to hire you. How soon can you start?

As the senator and presidential hopeful enjoys an image bounce from her surprise third-place finish in the New Hampshire Democratic primary, she is pouring staff and cash into Nevada, where she faces a daunting challenge to replicate her success in the Granite State.

Her success has come so suddenly that her campaign appears to be somewhat unprepared for the next nominating contest in Nevada, if Klobuchar's unusual public call for new hires on Thursday is any indication.

"We are surging, our campaign is gaining momentum every day, and we want you to join us!" Klobuchar wrote in a tweet Thursday night promoting dozens of paid positions on her campaign -- including communications and field organizer jobs in Nevada, which will hold caucuses on Feb. 22.

In her first appearance in front of a Nevada audience since the New Hampshire race, Klobuchar joked about her new environs as a Minnesota senator who had just wintered in Iowa and New Hampshire might.

"I'm very excited to be in Nevada. I'm very excited to be in Las Vegas. I'm very excited to be somewhere where it's warm," Klobuchar told a crowd of more than 100 at the University of Southern Nevada during a presidential forum hosted by the League of United Latin American Citizens, known as LULAC, a Latino advocacy group.

 

When an audience member questioned Klobuchar about her electability in a more diverse state like Nevada, Klobuchar acknowledged that she did not come from a place with many Latinos, and that she had some catching up to do.

"I have to get people to know me," Klobuchar said, noting that a recent influx of donations had allowed her to start broadcasting ads in Nevada. "I have to get that information out there, (and) I have to get the support and people turning out." She said that Latina lawmakers from Minnesota who had endorsed her would soon arrive in Nevada to promote her.

Klobuchar also deployed one of her stump-speech staples from the Iowa campaign, saying, "The Midwest is not flyover country. I live there." The line landed with a thud with the Nevada audience.

In perhaps one of the more obvious signs of Klobuchar's rising fortunes, fellow candidate Pete Buttigieg took a dig at Klobuchar's record at the presidential forum.

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