BOSTON — Despite sitting at the bottom of polls with little cash in the bank, U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton said he has no plans to withdraw from the presidential race.
The Salem Democrat, who entered the fight for the White House in April offering what he called a “new generation of leadership,” said claims he plans to exit the race by Labor Day are false.
“It’s not true,” he told The Item. “It depends on how it goes, I don’t think the summer debates will determine who voters will support in February.”
The third-term congressman’s comments come as a Suffolk University/Boston Globe survey shows former vice-president Joe Biden, and Senators Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts have the lead in New Hampshire.
A survey of 500 likely Democratic voters in the Granite State revealed Biden is ahead with 21 percent, Sanders at 17 percent and Warren garnered 14 percent. Other candidates followed in single digits or less and nearly 21 percent were undecided. Moulton had zero, the poll said.
The first-in-the-nation primary New Hampshire Democratic primary is set for Tuesday, February 11, one week after the Iowa caucuses.
David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center and a Lynnfield resident, said Moulton was not anyone’s first choice in the polling. He was second choice for two voters, he said.
When asked why he is staying in the race given his dismal ranking, Moulton said, “What’s keeping me in the race is my message is resonating on the ground, just like it did in my first campaign for Congress.”
During that first race, he said, Moulton was 53 points down after the first poll, seven months into the race.
“We have only been the presidential race for three months,” he said. “I’ve been in tough primaries before and if my message wasn’t resonating, and if people were not encouraging me to keep going, then I’d look at getting out, but that’s not what I’m hearing.”
In 2014, Moulton ousted nine-term incumbent U.S. Rep. John Tierney (D-Mass.) in a bitter Democratic primary to represent the state’s 6th Congressional District. The U.S. Marine Corps Iraq war veteran went on to defeat Republican Richard Tisei in the November election.
Moulton said voters tell him they are frustrated that the only combat veteran in the race is not on stage in the debates during the longest war in America.
To qualify for the first two debates, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) required candidates receive at least 1 percent support in three DNC-approved polls, and have received donations from at least 65,000 unique donors with a minimum of 200 donors in at least 20 different states.
From April through June, Moulton raised $1.9 million and had $724,377 in the bank at the end of the three-month period, according to the Federal Election Commission. In contrast, front runner Biden raised $22 million and had $10.8 million left on June 30.
Still, Moulton said he is not deterred.
“We need someone who can go toe-to-toe against Donald Trump on the debate stage,” he said. “And there’s a lot of concern that we haven’t found it yet.”