SANTA MONICA, Calif. (CN) – U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota announced her presidential bid in a blizzard this past February but arrived in sunny Santa Monica, California, on Tuesday to applause and an auditorium of eager voters during a West Coast campaign stop.
Klobuchar, a third-term senator, acknowledged to the crowd at the Santa Monica Library that she was campaigning in the home state of U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris, who may have more pull in the Golden State and on the national stage.
“What I always like to say is: Let the best woman win,” Klobuchar said, who describes herself as the underdog candidate. A Quinnipiac poll released May 21 showed only 2% of early voter support went to Klobuchar.
With over 500 days to Election Day 2020, voters across the country have plenty of time to digest the talking points of the 26 Democratic candidates currently vying for the White House. Klobuchar noted trouble with the Midwest in 2016, but said that changed in 2018 when Democrats took back the U.S. House of Representatives in part because they took the time to speak with voters from the heartland.
Klobuchar, a former corporate lawyer and Minnesota’s first woman elected to the U.S. Senate, said she’s someone who can broach the topics of the opioid crisis, standing with America’s allies and advocating for climate change through the Green New Deal.
“I have done that by meeting people where they are and not sacrificing my values or your values, basically not just going where it’s comfortable but where it’s uncomfortable,” said Klobuchar.
“I passed 34 bills as a lead Democrat while Donald Trump was president. He didn’t notice,” Klobuchar said to loud laughter from the crowd. “That is because I’ve been able to work across the aisle. I think you want a progressive, but you want a proven progressive. Proven progressive to me is someone who can make progress.”
Outside the forum, Huntington Beach-based attorney Joanne Nehmeh said she likes U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and former Vice President Joe Biden but admired the way Klobuchar stood up and took the newest U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh to task during his confirmation.
“I feel it’s more important to have the most qualified person in office. It would be wonderful if it was a woman but we need to pick our candidates based on their qualifications. Their integrity and competence. I like what Amy has to say,” said Nehmeh.
Sara Cannon, a retired director of education programming in the city of Los Angeles, said she is tired of the Trump presidency.
“I want somebody to bring back sanity, intelligence and compassion to our government. I want somebody who will unite us and not divide us,” said Cannon.
Klobuchar said that amid the gridlock of Washington politics and Republicans, there is a constant that she has noticed.
“They know we have to move on infrastructure and they know we have to move on immigration reform. They know we have to do something on mental health and addiction,” Klobuchar said of her Republican colleagues. “And every single time we try to move on infrastructure, they are stymied by one person. Who is that?”
The audience responded, “Donald Trump.”
“Right. They are afraid of crossing him,” said Klobuchar. “They are afraid they are going to be primaried. Things have been so stagnant for so long in terms of these challenges that we have a different dynamic when they don’t have him sitting there in the White House.”