‘That’s Politics’: Reaction in NH to Harris, Biden Debate Performances

New polls show Sen. Kamala Harris moving in on the frontrunner, former Vice President Joe Biden, in large part thanks to her strong debate performance last week.

One poll, from Quinnipiac University, put Harris in a virtual tie with Biden, ahead of Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders.

“It’s about connecting with voters and talking about the issues that matter to them. And that’s what Sen. Harris has done and what she’ll continue to do,” Harris’s New Hampshire Communications Director Nate Evans said.

But former U.S. ambassador Terry Shumaker, who has supported Biden since his 1987 presidential bid, is not concerned.

“Joe’s the frontrunner, so people are going to go after him. That’s politics,” he said.

Most New Hampshire Democrats are centrists who agree with the party platform on social issues, Shumaker said, but “they’re pretty economically conservative and Joe Biden has laid out how he will pay for the things he is proposing.”

Biden is one of few moderates in the race on issues like Medicare for all and free public college.

“I’m getting Republicans telling me that they could support Joe Biden if he was the nominee," Shumaker said.

And that includes “never Trumpers” like Alex Koutroubas.

“I like that he has a lot of experience. He can probably get things done more effectively than some of the other candidates. He’s probably the most electable," Koutroubas said.

Tricia Manning likes that Biden is a known entity: “You know what you’re getting. He’s just a good respectful person. I just respect everything about him. I think he’s honorable.”

But Harris' ability to project both toughness and warmth — historically a difficult challenge for female candidates — led Julie Burnett to look differently at her candidacy.

"She looked like a better representative for our country and for the generations coming up," Burnett said.

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