MANCHESTER, N.H. — This week, Hillary Clinton is dispatching at least 150 people from her campaign headquarters in Brooklyn Heights to New Hampshire for an all-hands-on-deck effort here in advance of the Democratic primary on Tuesday.
Staffers have already started making the five-hour drive north, a campaign official confirmed. The group, pulled from various departments inside the Clinton operation, is estimated to represent as much as half the staff that works out of 1 Pierrepont Plaza. Until primary night next week, the aides will help New Hampshire staffers wherever and with whatever is needed, particularly in the field department.
The campaign has sent smaller groups of staffers to South Carolina and Nevada, but because of New Hampshire's proximity to New York, the group traveling this week numbers 150 or more. The trip, an official said, has been planned for months.
Staffers for Sen. Bernie Sanders, who work out of his headquarters in nearby Burlington, Vt., are also expected to be on hand in New Hampshire this week. But compared to the Clinton envoy, the Burlington team is relatively small, numbering in the low dozens.
Since late last year, aides have viewed a New Hampshire victory as an unlikely prospect. This month, public polling shows that Sanders, from the neighboring Vermont, leads Clinton here by an average of about 18 points. It’s possible that Clinton, coming off a closer-than-expected race in Iowa, could close the gap, as she did in 2008 here against Barack Obama — but for weeks, her aides and supporters have made a point of stressing a built-in disadvantage here.
"They are amazing people," Bill Clinton of New Hampshire residents on Monday while campaigning for his wife in Iowa. The former president added, “They never voted against anybody from next door except when an incumbent president.”
The Clintons speak often of a special bond with this state. In 1992, the voters here jumpstarted Bill Clinton's presidential campaign with a second-place finish, and in 2008, Hillary Clinton came back to win the state after a crippling defeat in Iowa.
On Tuesday, in an interview with MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, the candidate acknowledged that New Hampshire was, as she put it, “Sen. Sanders’ backyard,” but promised that she would not ease off on her campaign here, or refocus earlier than planned on more favorable terrain in South Carolina and Nevada.
"I'm going to be there day after day between now and Tuesday," Clinton said of New Hampshire. "I respect this primary process. I know how seriously people take it. And I just want them to understand what I'm offering, what I believe we can do."
"I'm going to do everything possible to get them to support me next Tuesday."