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After sixth place finish in Nevada, Klobuchar stays upbeat

“As usual, we have exceeded expectations,” Klobuchar told a crowd of supporters.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar
Sen. Amy Klobuchar ended the night in sixth place, behind Tom Steyer, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, and Pete Buttigieg.
REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

The dust hadn’t settled in Nevada and Sen. Amy Klobuchar was already in Minneapolis on Saturday.

By then, it was clear that Sen. Bernie Sanders won the Nevada Caucuses with a commanding lead. Sanders received more than double the vote of his next closest challenger, former Vice President Joe Biden.

Klobuchar finished in sixth place, behind Tom Steyer, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, and Pete Buttigieg. With 96 percent of precincts reporting on Monday, Klobuchar received about 4  percent of the vote. Candidates need at least 15 percent of the vote from the caucuses to receive delegates, meaning only Sanders and Biden will walk away with delegates.

But still, on Saturday in Minneapolis, Klobuchar was optimistic. “As usual, we have exceeded expectations,” she said to a crowd of supporters. “A lot of people didn’t even think I would still be standing at this point. They didn’t think I’d make it through that speech in the snow.”

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Klobuchar’s campaign was slow to ramp up an organization in Nevada. After the Iowa caucus, staff were shifted to the state, where the campaign initially had only a handful of people. Klobuchar’s Nevada campaign bus came from New Hampshire: 2,700 miles away.

Klobuchar had significant fundraising hauls after the New Hampshire primary and the Democratic debate that preceded it, but her budget is constrained and she is at a significant spending disadvantage when it comes to competing in all 16 of the upcoming Super Tuesday primaries. As of the last Federal Election Commission filing, Klobuchar had $2.9 million in cash on hand. But in comparison, the current Democratic front-runner, Sen. Bernie Sanders, had $16.8 million.

Klobuchar does have some assistance: Kitchen Table Conversations, a Super PAC recently created to keep Klobuchar in the race, spent $345,000 on advertisements in just the week prior to the Nevada Caucuses. And they’ve already spent close to a million on advertisements in South Carolina.

But after a loss in Nevada, any hope of an upward trend will have to wait until South Carolina’s primary this Saturday. There, Klobuchar is not polling well. A recent poll from Winthrop University puts Biden in the lead, Sanders closely following him, with Klobuchar in sixth place (at 4 percent).

In an interview with the Star Tribune, Minnesota’s senior senator said that the campaign felt she got a significant percentage of the vote in Nevada, but the real focus now is the next deluge of primaries. “So we’ve been going up slowly but surely and our real focus right now is on Super Tuesday,” she said. ”And of course South Carolina.”