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Buttigieg and Sanders look to build their momentum

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Rally: Bernie Sanders kisses grand-daughter Tess Driscoll as his wife Jane Sanders looks on at an event in New Hampshire. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Rally: Bernie Sanders kisses grand-daughter Tess Driscoll as his wife Jane Sanders looks on at an event in New Hampshire. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Getty Images

Rally: Bernie Sanders kisses grand-daughter Tess Driscoll as his wife Jane Sanders looks on at an event in New Hampshire. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Democratic presidential contenders including Pete Buttigieg and Bernie Sanders, who topped the field in the Iowa caucuses, entered their last full day of campaigning in New Hampshire yesterday as they fight for the chance to seek the White House.

On the eve of New Hampshire's primary, the pair were looking to build on momentum from Iowa last week, where they emerged first and second in delegates, respectively, while nine rivals including US Senator Amy Klobuchar, US Senator Elizabeth Warren and former Vice President Joe Biden bid to gain ground.

The man they are all seeking to take on in November, Republican President Donald Trump, was trying to command the national spotlight with a campaign rally of his own last night in Manchester, the state's largest city.

"Want to shake up the Dems a little bit - they have a really boring deal going on," Mr Trump wrote in an early morning tweet touting the event that he said promised "big crowds".

Mr Sanders (78), an impassioned progressive who serves as a US senator for neighbouring Vermont, has long led in opinion polls for the New Hampshire contest. But Mr Buttigieg, a 38-year-old moderate and military veteran who served two terms as mayor of South Bend, Indiana, has rapidly gained ground since Iowa.

Mr Buttigieg, who would be the first openly gay US president, and Mr Sanders sparred on Sunday over visions for their party and fundraising models.

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Pete Buttigieg

Pete Buttigieg

REUTERS

"The idea that we've either got to wait for a revolution or wait for the status quo leaves most of us out," Mr Buttigieg said in a thinly veiled references to Mr Sanders and Mr Biden. "We need a politics that brings all of us in."

Mr Sanders, speaking in Plymouth, criticised Mr Buttigieg for taking money from "40 billionaires," adding: "Our agenda is the agenda that represents working families."

Mr Buttigieg noted he was the least wealthy of the Democratic candidates and said he had never hesitated to stand up to industry.

"Bernie's pretty rich, and I would happily accept a contribution from him," Mr Buttigieg said on CNN.

Julia Cervone, a 54-year-old healthcare worker who supports Ms Warren, said she came to Mr Buttigieg's Sunday rally in her hometown of Salem out of curiosity.

"I wanted to see what all the buzz was about," Ms Cervone said.

Since signing up for Mr Buttigieg's rally, she has been bombarded by texts and emails from his campaign but received nothing from Ms Warren's, even though she is a registered supporter, Ms Cervone said. She said that made her worried for Ms Warren's candidacy.

"My guess is Pete got a big financial boost from Iowa and he's spending it," Ms Cervone said.

A 'Boston Globe' poll released late on Sunday showed Ms Klobuchar in third place behind Mr Sanders and Mr Buttigieg following the party's Friday night debate in the New England state.

"After that debate, something switched," Ms Klobuchar told MSNBC in an interview yesterday. "It just allowed the people of New Hampshire to see me in a different way."

Ms Klobuchar has questioned whether Mr Sanders - a self-described democratic socialist - can attract centrist voters Democrats need to beat Mr Trump, and questioned whether Mr Buttigieg has enough experience as a mayor to counter the president.

"I've won statewide," including rural and suburban areas, she said, making an appeal for the large number of undecided and independent voters in the state and noting just a few thousand votes handed Mr Trump victories in several key states in 2016.

The 'Globe' poll, conducted with Suffolk University and WBZ-TV, showed Mr Sanders with 27pc ahead of Mr Buttigieg with 19pc and Ms Klobuchar with 14pc among 500 likely voters polled over the weekend. Mr Biden and Ms Warren each saw 12pc in the survey, which had a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

Another 7pc were undecided.

The Sanders campaign expected to draw a large crowd in Durham last night when progressive star US Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and rock band The Strokes join him for a rally.

Ms Warren, Ms Klobuchar, Mr Buttigieg, entrepreneur Andrew Yang and the rest of the Democratic field also held events through the state.

Irish Independent