CLAREMONT — Former Vice President Joe Biden visited Claremont on Friday looking to convert undecided voters and there were plenty in the Common Man Restaurant for him to try to convince.
“We need to unite this country,” Biden said.
Biden stuck to his script for the speech before a few hundred potential voters, reminding people about his experience and his history in Washington, D.C. and the need to bring the country together as it faces division at home and a world in disarray.
Bethany Yurek, the Claremont Democrat who introduced Biden, said now is the time to think about the November election, and not the Feb. 11 primary.
“Whoever the Democrats nominate needs to be able to win the general election,” she said.
Yurek reminded voters that Democrats won the popular vote in 2016, and still lost the presidency with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton running for president.
The race is still up for grabs, according to Middlebury College Political Science Professor Matt Dickinson, who was attending his third Biden campaign event of the primary season on Friday.
“I think it’s wide open,” Dickinson said.
Dickinson has been tracking the race and going to as many campaign events as he can for as many different candidates as possible. He said usually one of the candidates would be pulling ahead at this point, and that’s something he hasn’t seen yet.
“It’s unusual to have a wide open race this close to Iowa,” he said.
The Iowa caucus is coming up on Feb. 3 and will be the first time voters weigh in on the crowded race. Dickinson said the race is still close in Iowa and in New Hampshire. Though Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is showing signs of pulling into a lead in the Granite State, Dickinson said New Hampshire is still likely a tossup.
“I wouldn’t bet on him yet,” Dickinson said of Sanders.
Campaign worker Brandon Weed, from Minnesota, said many voters he speaks to these days haven’t settled on a candidate yet.
“A lot of New Hampshire is extremely undecided,” Weed said. “Many people have no idea who they’re going to vote for yet.”
Weed said a lot of Democrats are worried about picking the right candidate to win in the fall, and that’s leading to their hesitation.