Jul 2, 2015 11:27 PM
NH1 Political Director - NH1.com
CONCORD – It may not look like much from the outside, but inside, Sen. Bernie Sanders’s first campaign office in New Hampshire is up and running.
NH1 News toured the Sanders campaign headquarters in the Granite State on Thursday afternoon, a few hours after operations got underway. It’s located in a small, bare bones, strip mall on Manchester Street south of downtown.
Inside around ten people were busy, making calls to supporters or helping to get the new facility operational.
“We’re growing every day. This office is our first office in the state. We just opened it up, so we are still bringing furniture in. We have more than half a dozen volunteers working here all day today, calling, getting people out to July fourth events and just talking to them about Bernie, Kurt Ehrenberg, the New Hampshire state director for the Sanders campaign, told NH1 News.
The Concord office opened the morning after Sanders drew a crowd of nearly 10,000 at a rally in Madison, Wisconsin. It was the largest audience yet on the campaign trail for the independent senator from Vermont and Democratic presidential candidate. Sanders has lately been drawing large crowds in cities with strong progressive populations. Monday, the Sanders campaign is moving their event in Portland, Maine, to the city’s arena, thanks to a large initial response from supporters that they would attend the July 6 rally.
The Sanders campaign says these big rallies are not only impressive to the eye, they can also help generate support in the early primary and caucus voting states, such as New Hampshire.
“It just builds our momentum, which is building every day. We have 10,000 people in Madison, Wisconsin. All of Bernie’s supporters in New Hampshire and Iowa, Nevada and South Carolina, see that, understand it, and know that it’s not just people in their own states that are working and trying to get Bernie elected president, but people all over the country. And these huge crowds just demonstrate the groundswell of grassroots support that we’re going to need to move this thing forward and win the nomination and get Bernie in the White House,” Ehrenberg added.
Last weekend Sanders held more than a half dozen events in the first-in-the-nation primary state, most of them to standing room only crowds.
“Every event is too full. We have to find bigger rooms. We have to have overflow rooms and things like that. The enthusiasm is just enormous. I’ve never seen anything like it in all my years doing politics here in New Hampshire,” Ehrenberg said.
The rallies are also a place for the campaign to fundraise, with campaign volunteers handing out envelopes asking supporters to contribute. The Sanders campaign Thursday said it’s raised around $15 million since the senator announced for president back in April. Most of that money was raised on-line or at rallies and other campaign events.
The Sanders campaign hopes to raise up to $50 million this year. That’s about half the goal of Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton. The former secretary of state’s campaign said this week that it raised a record setting $45 million since launching in April.
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