Bernie Sanders Rolling Out New Hampshire Team

Sanders is expected to roll out a team of former lawmakers and activists.

ByABC News
November 9, 2015, 8:35 PM

—CONCORD, N.H. -- The last few weeks have been good ones for Hillary Clinton: a "Saturday Night Live" guest appearance, a well-regarded debate performance, and testimony on Benghazi that appear to avoid any new controversies. Her poll numbers have risen, too.

All this may be reason for Bernie Sanders supporters to be concerned in New Hampshire, the early-voting state in which he’s expected to fare best. But perhaps most troubling has been the Vermont Senator’s difficulty in garnering endorsements from state lawmakers.

But they may be on their way. A Bernie Sanders spokesperson tells ABC News that the campaign expects to roll out a New Hampshire steering committee this week, perhaps as early as Tuesday. It will feature “well-known activists, labor leaders, community activists, and some sitting state legislators,” according to the spokesperson.

While the campaign wouldn’t reveal the names of current lawmakers, the spokesperson did confirm a major member of the team: Dudley Dudley, a prominent activist, former state representative, and former candidate for U.S. Congress. (Her slogan was “Dudley Dudley: Congress Congress.”)

This announcement will come in addition to what the Sanders camp touts as a strong network of volunteers, a large New Hampshire staff -- Sanders has more paid staff in the state than Clinton -- and support from local labor groups.

In October, as Clinton was landing endorsements from mega-groups like the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) and the National Education Association (NEA), the Sanders team was announcing support from local chapters like SEIU 560 and IBEW 490. Sanders Communications Director Michael Briggs told ABC News that many “local labor organizations are going in a back-and-forth with their national organizations,” with many rank-and-file members arguing for Sanders.

Carol Backus might be one example. A former spokesman for the NEA in New Hampshire, she is an ardent Bernie supporter – and believes the senator is winning the volunteer race, even while losing the endorsement game.

“[Endorsements are] probably less significant in New Hampshire than any other state, because we’re a retail politics state,” Backus told ABC News. She added that Sanders volunteers seem more committed than any other candidate’s, saying “everybody who signed up with Bernie seems extremely committed to Bernie.”