KEENE/NASHUA - U.S. Democratic presidential contenders Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg made their closing pitches to voters as the front-runners in New Hampshire on Monday, with an energized Senator Amy Klobuchar gaining ground.
Buttigieg and Sanders, who emerged first and second in delegates in the debut nominating contest in Iowa last week, face eight rivals in Tuesday's vote in New Hampshire, including Klobuchar, who has pulled into third place in two polls.
The man they are all seeking to take on in the November election, Republican President Donald Trump, will try to command the national spotlight with a campaign rally of his own on Monday night in Manchester.
The large number of Democratic candidates and the unsettled polling makes the outcome of the New Hampshire contest unpredictable, said Ray Buckley, the chairman of the state Democratic Party.
"This is anyone's race to win," Buckley told reporters on Tuesday. "That makes these final hours even more exciting."
Here's a look at Monday's action on the campaign trail:
Sanders, 78, an impassioned progressive who represents neighboring Vermont in the U.S. Senate, has long led in opinion polls in New Hampshire. But Buttigieg, a 38-year-old moderate and military veteran who served two terms as mayor of South Bend, Indiana, has gained ground since Iowa.
In Plymouth, Buttigieg tried to reach out to undecided voters, referring to "future former Republicans" who he said were more than welcome to back his campaign.
"It's decision time," Buttigieg said. He took a shot at Sanders, saying that the self-described democratic socialist would have a hard time pulling in moderate voters.
"Knowing how much depends on bringing Americans together, we cannot risk alienating Americans at this critical moment," he said. "And that's where I part ways with my friend Senator Sanders."
In a separate event, Sanders aimed his attacks at Trump.
"I know not everybody agrees with everything I say, but I think what we can agree about is that we cannot continue having a president who is a pathological liar," Sanders told a crowd at a sports club in Manchester.
'LONG TIME COMING'
A pair of polls released late on Sunday and early Monday showed Klobuchar pulling into third place behind Sanders and Buttigieg following the party's debate in the New England state on Friday.
"We feel the surge, for me it's been a long time coming," said Klobuchar, a moderate from Minnesota, noting that she had visited New Hampshire 23 times since she entered the presidential race a year ago.
Klobuchar told a crowd of more than 200 at Keene State College that she was the candidate who could appeal to independents and Republicans disenchanted with Trump's divisive policies and rhetoric.
"There are a bunch of moderate Republicans and independents out there who feel this and know just what I'm talking about," she said. "You need a candidate with big coattails who brings people with her."
Although she criticized Buttigieg in Friday night's debate, Klobuchar refrained from mentioning any of her rivals on the campaign trail, sticking to her promise to unite the country, lower drug prices, improve infrastructure and increase funding for treatment of drug addiction and mental health issues.
A Boston Globe poll, conducted with Suffolk University and WBZ-TV, showed Sanders with 27%, Buttigieg with 19% and Klobuchar with 14% among 500 likely voters polled over the weekend in New Hampshire. The survey had a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.
A separate poll by WHDH/Emerson College also showed Klobuchar pulling into third.
BIDEN AND THE BUS DRIVERS
Deeply trailing in New Hampshire polls, former Vice President Joe Biden kicked off a rainy cold day by visiting with unionized school bus drivers at a depot in Nashua. One driver asked for a picture, saying "My grandmother is never going to believe me."
Biden then had the driver call her grandmother, and he spoke to her. The candidate reminisced about driving school buses to earn extra money while a law student at Syracuse University in the late 1960s.
He also won a late endorsement from New Hampshire state Senate President Donna Soucy, who said on Twitter, "Joe has the experience, the tenacity and the empathy that we need in the White House."
A similar wave of late endorsements before Iowa's vote didn't save Biden from a fourth-place finish.
The Iowa results are still not entirely settled. Jeff Weaver, senior advisor to Sanders, said late on Sunday that the campaign would make a formal request to the Iowa Democratic Party on Monday to recanvass the results of between 30 and 40 caucus precincts.
The Sanders campaign expects to draw a large crowd in Durham on Monday evening when U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a progressive star, and rock band The Strokes join him for a rally.
U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren began her day in the mountain town of North Conway with a two-mile walk in the snow to McDonald's for breakfast. She made phone calls, wearing a black baseball cap emblazoned with: "make Earth cool again."
"It's a beautiful day for democracy!" Warren said.