Top New Hampshire Dems hedging their bets on Hillary
How much trouble is Hillary Clinton in with Democrats? While the conventional GOP wisdom would have us believe that Hillary is toast, recent polls show her holding a comfortable lead nationally over Bernie Sanders among Democrats. And she still leads all Republicans nationwide, albeit with a reduced margin from previous surveys.
The email scandal is not resonating with Democratic voters, who see the contremps as "playing politics." Where the scandal is hurting Clinton is in the perception that she is bungling the response while being extremely unimpressive as a candidate.
Worried Democrats - and there are a lot of them in the professional politcal class - are becoming more cautious about endorsing Clinton, as evidenced by the reluctance of top Democrats in New Hampsire to green light her campaign.
Several of New Hampshire’s top Democratic figures are holding back their endorsements in the state’s first-in-the-nation primary, which party insiders view as another sign of mounting troubles for Hillary Rodham Clinton’s campaign.
Most of the state’s Democratic Party establishment lined up behind Mrs. Clinton early in the race. But prominent leaders, including New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan, have kept quiet as the nomination race has grown increasingly tight between Mrs. Clinton and Sen. Bernard Sanders, a Vermont independent who is running as a Democrat.
“There are those who are waiting because they don’t want to be caught backing the wrong horse,” said John White, the Democratic Party chairman for Wolfeboro, New Hampshire. “There are people who now seriously doubt that Hillary is going to take the New Hampshire primary, and they want to be in good shape with the winner.”
A recent WMUR poll in New Hampshire showed socialist independent Bernie Sanders topping Clinton 44-37 with 9% undecided. There are a lot of crusty, anti-establishment independents in New Hampshire, and Sanders, like Trump on the GOP side, has tapped into voter anger at the direction the country is going.
In 2008, when Ms. Hassan was the majority leader of the state Senate, her support helped boost Mrs. Clinton to a comeback win in the New Hampshire primary that keep the former first lady in the race againstBarack Obama.
As governor this election cycle, Ms. Hassan could hold an even more crucial endorsement for Mrs. Clinton.
Sources close to Ms. Hassan said she was too busy dealing with the state’s budget to worry about endorsements. She has been locked in a stalemate with Republican lawmakers for months after vetoing the budget.
Rep. Ann M. Kuster, who backed Mr. Obama in 2008, is another top New Hampshire Democrat withholding an endorsement. Her office did not respond to questions about an endorsement.
Other top Democrats have said they support Mrs. Clinton but stop short of formally announcing endorsements.
Sen. Jeanne Shaheen threw her support behind Mrs. Clinton before the race started by signing a 2013 letter with every fellow Senate Democratic woman urging the former first lady, senator and secretary of state to get into the White House race.
Yet Ms. Shaheen hasn’t announced her endorsement.
The primary isn't until February 9, so most of these politicians can take their own sweet time before committing. But the Biden boomlet that picked up steam this last weekend is for real and there may be a lot of Democrats waiting for him to jump in the race - or refuse to run - before saying who they are backing.
Biden as an alternative to Clinton? Desperate Democrats are scraping the bottom of the barrel to find someone - anyone - who can be a credible candidate against the Republican challenger. And given the listlessness of the Clinton campaign, and Bernie Sanders' unelectability, Biden could be touted as a Democratic "savior" if he chooses to make a run.