Sen. Kamala Harris makes first N.H. visit since announcing 2020 White House bid

  • Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris of California greets patrons at the Common Man Restaurant in Concord on Monday. AP

  • Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., high-fives with 2-year-old Isabelle Chan of Newton, Mass. at the Common Man Restaurant, Monday, Feb. 18, 2019, in Concord, N.H. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola) Elise Amendola

  • Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris smiles as she arrives at the Common Man Restaurant in Concord. AP

For the Monitor
Published: 2/18/2019 5:48:32 PM

U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris vows she’ll spend “a lot of time” in New Hampshire.

The Democratic senator from California – in the first-in-the-nation primary state for the first time since launching her presidential campaign four weeks ago – kicked off a jam-packed 24-hour trip to the Granite State with a stop in Concord on Monday.

“I’m here because I believe that this is a very important state and intend to spend a lot of time here and I intend to compete for the votes here and I’m going to put a lot of effort into doing that,” Harris said when asked by the Monitor if the state was a lower priority than other early voting states in the primary and caucus calendar.

“It’s an important state,” she continued. “It is a state of people who have a lot of needs and need to be seen and heard.”

Harris – who grew up in Oakland, Calif., and is a daughter of parents from Jamaica and India – would be the first woman to win the White House and second African-American, if she succeeds.

Even before her formal launch last month, the candidate headed to South Carolina, the first southern state to vote in the nomination process. And she headed to Iowa – which votes first – a few days later.

South Carolina, where black voters make up a majority of the Democratic primary electorate, is likely to figure heavily into Harris’s prospects. Harris campaigned in support of fellow Democrats in South Carolina in last year’s midterm elections. She also made stops in Iowa – which votes first in the race for the White House – and Nevada – which holds the first western contest. But she didn’t campaign in the Granite State during the midterm elections.

With questions of her New Hampshire intentions swirling around, Harris vowed at the beginning of an event at Gibson’s Bookstore on Concord’s Main Street to spend lots of time campaigning in the Granite State. She repeated that pledge and at a large event later Monday in Portsmouth.

Harris started her New Hampshire visit by meeting and lunching with Rep. Annie Kuster at the Common Man restaurant in Concord.

The four-term Democratic congresswoman who represents New Hampshire’s 2nd District met earlier this weekend with 2020 contenders Sens. Cory Booker of New Jersey and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York. And last week, she sat down with Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio, who’s likely to jump into the White House race.

“I was skiing this morning and picking a president this afternoon,” Kuster told the Monitor on Monday. “That’s just a New Hampshire Presidents’ Day weekend. I’m not going to make an endorsement now.”

Kuster added that “I wouldn’t rule it out when we get a whole lot closer” to next year’s primary.

Harris and Kuster shook hands and talked with customers at the restaurant.

Later, Kuster and Harris spoke to a crowd at Gibson’s, which is quickly becoming a must stop for 2020 Democratic White House hopefuls.

After giving a short stump speech, Harris took some questions before heading to Portsmouth.

On Tuesday morning, the senator will headline a “Politics and Eggs” event at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics, a traditional must stop for presidential contenders.

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