PLYMOUTH, N.H. – Bounding onto a stage at a conference center in New Hampshire, tech entrepreneur Andrew Yang beamed a smile to a cheering crowd and launched into his pitch for votes heading into Tuesday's first-in-the nation primary.
Yang didn't mention his poor showing in Iowa, his back-of-the-pack polling in New Hampshire or the fact his campaign recently laid off an undisclosed number of people. Instead, he recalled a conversation he had in Washington in which he was told that he needed to "create a wave in other parts of the country and bring that wave crashing down on our heads in D.C.”
“I said challenge accepted,” Yang said of his decision to run for president. “Here we are Plymouth and you are that wave.”
Yang is among a handful of candidates who are polling in the single digits as New Hampshire's primary nears. He joins Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet, former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, billionaire activist Tom Steyer and Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard near the bottom of most surveys. For most of them, a poor showing on Tuesday could force them to rethink their campaigns.
Only Yang and Steyer qualified for Friday's presidential debate.
Rather than dwelling on potential disappointment, these candidates are soldiering on with scores of town halls, house parties as well as breakfasts and dinners with supporters. It's all in service to the idea that New Hampshire voters might surprise the pundits.
Speaking on the sidelines of a University of New Hampshire event on college costs, Bennet claimed that he had spent more time in New Hampshire than any other candidate and was hoping to finish third or fourth. He was in the midst of a tour that included 50 town halls and a rally Saturday in Manchester with Democratic operative James Carville.
He also picked up an endorsement from Democratic Rep. Jared Golden of Maine, the first member of Congress to endorse Bennet in his campaign for president.