Booker says he wants to win the primary ‘the traditional Granite State way’

  • Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., addresses a crowd of supporters during a campaign stop at the Green Street Community Center in Concord on Monday. MICHAEL PEZONE / Monitor staff

For the Monitor
Published: 6/12/2019 5:19:45 PM

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Cory Booker says he wants to win New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation presidential primary “the traditional Granite State way.”

And in an interview with the Monitor on Wednesday, the senator from New Jersey explained that means old-fashioned “retail politics, organizing and earning votes one-by-one, brick-by-brick.”

Booker has made four campaign swings through the state since declaring his candidacy for the White House on Feb. 1. His staffers in New Hampshire say the candidate has held 35 public events or stops, met with some 4,000 voters and taken countless selfies with those Granite Staters.

Booker also staffed up in New Hampshire, building a campaign team of some two-dozen strong, which appears to be second in the state only to Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.

And he’s the first of the nearly two-dozen 2020 Democratic contenders to open three campaign offices in New Hampshire, with a headquarters in Manchester and facilities in Nashua and Portsmouth.

“I took a lot of time to talk to people involved in many, many presidential cycles there, and everybody told me the way to win is by building an organization, by being on the ground, by the kind of team you hire, and we’ve paid a lot of attention to that,” Booker told the Monitor.

Booker was guided along the way by veteran New Hampshire-based Democratic consultant Jim Demers, who publicly said early last year that he would back the senator from New Jersey if he ended up running for the White House. Demers, who shepherded a young Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois through the Granite State a dozen years ago, did the same with Booker last year and early this year.

Booker says the guidance he received, and the preparations he’s taken, will pay off next February, when the primary takes place.

“After being in front of thousands of Granite Staters and organizing many people on the ground, from volunteers to staff, I have a lot of confidence in our ability over the coming 240-plus days to get to the point where we can win there in the Granite State,” he emphasized.

Booker, like Warren, has also unveiled a number of detailed policy proposals as he runs for the White House.

Among them is his plan for affordable housing, which is an issue central to his campaign. In his stump speech, Booker often tells the story of his story of his parents’ struggle to buy a home.

“This has been a core of my life, from my own story that you’ve heard, but even to helping run a housing clinic at Yale Law School to my first job working as a housing organizer and we’re now at a time in America where an incredible percentage of population are housing insecure,” he noted.

Affordable housing also happens to be a major issue facing many Granite Staters.

Booker spotlighted that the “renters credit part of my housing plan would help 82,000 New Hampshire families by providing them about $4,000 annually of a housing credit which they could use to close the gap for their high and expensive rents and housing costs.

“This is about putting the money back in the pockets of Granite Staters who are struggling to make ends meat right now,” he emphasized. “To me this is where the rubber hits the road.”

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