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N.H. supporters to Warren: ‘This is the moment.’

Last modified: 2/9/2015 4:43:49 PM
The first event in New Hampshire championing an Elizabeth Warren presidential candidacy had all the makings of a big-time rally: Supporters waving homemade signs, crowds chanting Warren’s name, T-shirts and upbeat music.

The only thing missing was Warren, who says she won’t run.

This didn’t stop the group of 50-or-so supporters who gathered yesterday to start building a grassroots support network for a potential Warren run. In a conference room in Manchester’s Waumbec Mill, New Hampshire’s “Run Warren Run” campaign officially kicked off, led by Democracy for America and MoveOn Political Action. The organizations are spearheading the joint effort, which will include up to $1.25 million in spending to try to get Warren, a Massachusetts senator, to run.

“The reason we are here is because this is the moment. This is Elizabeth Warren’s moment,” said Charles Chamberlain, executive director of Democracy for America, a PAC founded by Howard Dean that has spent millions nationally to support progressive candidates.

Run Warren Run rolled into New Hampshire from Iowa, where about 100 people met in Des Moines with the same rallying call. The campaign has hired three staffers to work in New Hampshire, where the groups hope to build a grassroots army to support Warren. Nationally, more than 240,000 people have signed on to support the growing campaign, according to information provided at the meeting.

Building a vocal, active support system for Warren will be key for her to consider a run, Chamberlain said afterward.

“We’re in this for the long run,” he said. “We also recognize she’s not going to run until she knows we’re all in this together.”

Her reluctance to run has not kept her supporters from coming out in droves, he said. “She had to be dragged kicking and screaming into the Senate race. Once we got her in it, she delivered. We’re confident that when we get her to run for president, she’s going to do the exact same thing,” Chamberlain said.

Speakers yesterday hit early and often on Warren’s stance toward issues related to the middle class. They championed Warren as a candidate of the people who would advocate for rebuilding the middle class, income equality, the expansion of Social Security and reducing student debt.

“Working families, middle class families, are not feeling the benefits of the economic recovery. Granite staters are hungry for Elizabeth Warren to get into this race,” said Victoria Kaplan, the lead campaign director for MoveOn.org, which uses technology to build support in campaigns for progressive change and in elections.

The crowd yesterday was optimistic.

“I’m not saying Elizabeth Warren is definitely going to run, but it feels like she’s got a good chance if she does,” said Barrington resident Gil McCarthy. Warren initially won McCarthy’s support through her work in creating the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, he said. McCarthy also touched on a popular talking point nationally when discussing Warren’s candidacy, particularly with Hillary Clinton considered a heavy favorite to win the Democratic nod.

“I’m sure she doesn’t want to hurt the Democrats’ chances of being in the White House, but if she runs, she’s got a chance,” he said.

Susan Roman of Durham, who was clutching a white “Run Warren Run” sign before the event, was impressed by Warren’s stump speech for U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen in Durhman last fall. Roman stopped short of saying she’d definitely support Warren, but she figured hearing the message would help her decide. “They are obviously going to hit the key primary states to try to stir up some interest,” she said.

Could the effort really spur Warren to run?

“I think it’s very realistic,” said Liz Burns, of Bedford. “She’s our neighbor. She walks the walk and talks the talk. She’s got guts.”

(Iain Wilson can be reached at 369-3313 or iwilson@cmonitor.com or on Twitter@iainwilsoncm.)


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