MANCHESTER, N.H. – Despite blizzard-like conditions, U.S. Senator Michael Bennet travelled to South Willow Street on Saturday to meet with members of the Islamic Society of New Hampshire.
There, Bennet (D-CO) took questions from an audience of 20 members from the South Willow Street-based mosque, after sharing his views on a variety of topics.
Bennet campaign volunteer Will Kanteres of Manchester, helped organize the event, which served as one of the 50 town hall meetings Bennet pledged to hold in New Hampshire over the final 10 weeks before Granite State voters head to the polls on Feb. 11
Kantares began his support for Bennet eight months ago, believing that Bennet is the most pragmatic choice to defeat President Donald Trump in November.
While Kantares expected the crowd was smaller than it would have been if not for the storm, he felt that the stop highlighted Bennet’s commitment to listen to various groups while keeping true to his core beliefs.
“I think this was a good example of how America is a diverse community,” said Kantares. “Bennet understands the importance of these communities within New Hampshire, but he said the same things tonight that he would say at any other meeting elsewhere in the state. His brand does not change.”
Kamal Ali, a member of the Islamic Society of New Hampshire, asked Bennet several questions and says he has seen several other candidates over the past few months.
After the event, Ali seemed to be leaning toward supporting Bennet and his aim toward re-activating components of President Obama’s winning coalition that decided to stay home in 2016.
“He seems like he’s on target, he seems like he has a plan,” said Ali. “I’m still going to look around, but if the election were today, I’d support (Bennet). He had good answers to my questions.” ‘
Bennet has not qualified for the past five Democratic National Committee debates and has struggled to find a footing against what he referred to as “celebrity candidates,” such as U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), who drew just under a thousand people approximately two hours earlier and two miles away.
While Bennet didn’t begrudge the efforts made by the Sanders campaign to draw such a crowd, he noted that there are still plenty of New Hampshire voters seeking a pragmatic candidate with a proven electoral track record in a swing state that can pivot into a general election campaign against Trump.
“We need to ask ourselves now, who can beat actually beat Donald Trump and I think that’s what New Hampshire is trying to figure out,” said Bennet. “I do think there’s room for another candidate to finish in the sweepstakes here.”