Associated Press

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — With victory seemingly out of reach in New Hampshire, Hillary Clinton is looking ahead to the next round of voting as she tries to counter the rising challenge from Bernie Sanders in the Democratic presidential race.

Clinton hopes to use a narrower-than-expected loss in Tuesday’s primary as a springboard into contests later this month in Nevada and South Carolina, with a goal of having a more heavily-minority electorate help her build the foundation for a delegate-by-delegate drive toward the nomination.

On Sunday, she planned a quick visit to Flint, Michigan, an unusual detour for a candidate trailing in polls in New Hampshire, the first primary state. Last Monday, Clinton narrowly beat Sanders in Iowa’s leadoff caucuses.

Aides said she was invited by Flint Mayor Karen Weaver and intended to hold a town hall meeting with residents before returning to New Hampshire. Clinton has pointed to the crisis of lead-poisoned water in Flint as an example of racial and economic injustice, an issue that resonates among Democrats, particularly African-American voters.

Sanders was to campaign in New Hampshire on Sunday following his cameo appearance on "Saturday Night Live." He appeared in a skit with host Larry David, the comic who has done a dead-on impersonation of him.

Clinton aides worry that a big Sanders victory in New Hampshire would help him make headway among women and minority voters, important parts of the coalition that twice elected Barack Obama as president. Sanders’ strength with younger voters only heightens the threat he poses to what was once Clinton’s decisive national lead.

Clinton has pledged to fight for every vote in New Hampshire, but at least some of her operation is moving on. This weekend, former President Bill Clinton wooed voters in Las Vegas, campaign surrogates knocked doors in San Antonio, and Clinton’s aides announced an upcoming meeting with civil rights leaders in New York City.

Clinton aides are trying to make the case that the heavily white and liberal electorates of New Hampshire and Iowa make them outliers in the nomination fight. They say Clinton will find more success in the South Carolina primary on Feb 20. and the Nevada caucuses a week later, where polls show her with a wide lead.

In recent days, she has used the state as a testing ground for new campaign messages targeted at specific groups, with pledges to break "the highest and hardest glass ceiling" and promising young voters that she would "be for them" even if they support Sanders.

On Saturday, Clinton said during a town hall meeting that her proposals to address college affordability and to build upon Obama’s health care law were superior to Sanders’ approach. She also said her plans were more fiscally responsible.

Sanders has worked to boost his profile among black voters who make up more than half of the South Carolina electorate.

On Friday, his campaign scheduled a press conference to promote the endorsement of former NAACP President Ben Jealous. Though snow forced the event to be canceled, Jealous told reporters on a conference call that Sanders "has the courage to confront the institutionalized bias that stains our nation."

Jealous was in South Carolina for campaign events on Saturday with Erica Garner, whose father died in 2014 after a white New York police officer put the black man in a choke hold.

Sanders’ backers believe that as African-Americans learn more about the Vermont senator, they will warm to his liberal message. Clinton is one of the best known political figures in the world and has strong backing among Latinos and black voters.

"Before a few weeks ago, I never gave Bernie Sanders the time of day," said South Carolina state Rep. Justin Bamberg, who recently switched his backing from Clinton. "But if you look at Sanders he has been solid as concrete with regards to his passion for racial, social and economic justice."


Associated Press writer Bill Barrow in Columbia, South Carolina, contributed to this report.


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