Her unexpected dropout came in the middle of the moderate Minnesota senator’s booked lineup of campaign visits across the country before Super Tuesday — which started early Monday morning in Salt Lake City. She had kicked off the event by noting that her staying in the race was a “true tribute to grit.”
“A lot of people predicted I wouldn’t make it through my campaign announcement,” she said. “Then they predicted I wouldn’t make it through the summer. Then they predicted I wouldn’t make it on the debate stage. But I did.”
The audience of about 200 people below her cheered. They didn’t quite fill the event space at The Depot concert venue downtown, but those who came were strongly supportive, clapping and whistling throughout her remarks. “We love you Amy,” one woman shouted as the senator took the stage.
Still, others acknowledged before her 40-minute address that they had hoped more people would show up — even in a red state like Utah. And they were worried, despite how much they like her, what that might suggest about Klobuchar’s popularity in the race overall.
“We don’t understand why she’s not getting more traction,” said Salt Lake City resident Cathy Campbell. “She makes a lot of sense.” Added Jeff Alley, of Syracuse: “Right now, it’s not looking so good.”
But those looking for an indication that Klobuchar was going to leave the race likely wouldn’t have found it in her address. She came onto the stage with energy and a handful of jabs against Trump and her competition.
“Our country can’t handle four more years of a president who thinks he’s above the law,” she said.
And on Sanders, she suggested that his campaign was full of “pipe dreams” where she had concrete plans.
Throughout her speech, Klobuchar painted herself as the best candidate who could beat Trump, able to get votes from both parties but especially those in deeply red states, like Utah, who voted for him and are now disillusioned. She promised to “bring decency back to the White House.”
“The heart of America is bigger than the heart of the guy in the White House,” she shouted as red, white and blue lights shone down on her and she was surrounded by “Amy for America” posters.
Meanwhile, Trump’s 2020 presidential campaign had released a statement saying that her campaign was “on life support” and residents here “would not be wooed by her last minute attempts to win their support.”
After kicking off her 9 a.m. rally in Salt Lake City, the senator had planned to speak in Colorado and Oklahoma as part of a busy campaign blitz covering 10 states before Super Tuesday.
During her rally in Utah, she said that while the Democrats running for president disagree on some issues, what unites them “is stronger than what divides us.” And any of them would be better in office than Trump has been, she said.
He promised to lower the price of prescription drugs and hasn’t, she said. He pledged to address roads and transportation but never looked at those issues, she said. He committed to making college more affordable and “has done the opposite," she said.
“There are promises that haven’t been kept,” Klobuchar said. “What really bugs me about this guy is that he lessens that heart [of America]. He reduces the way that people feel. He’s always in for the mean tweet.”
Utahns, she added, understand “civil discourse and that need for decency” and should vote against him.
Klobuchar had campaigned on lowering the cost of health care premiums, creating more affordable housing, welcoming immigrants and making grants more available to college students. She had faced some pushback for how she treated staff.
Utahns will choose 29 Democratic delegates on Tuesday. Candidates must win at least 15% of the vote to win a delegate here. About a third of all Democratic delegates will be chosen Tuesday as 14 states hold primaries.