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Deval Patrick announces six-day bus tour in New Hampshire during Iowa caucus

As presidential candidates compete for delegates in Iowa, former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick will charter a bus 1,300 miles away, hoping to get an advantage in the nation's next primary contest in New Hampshire. The candidate is launching a six-day, "all access" bus tour through the Granite State from January 30 to February 4.

"This is a moment we cannot miss," Governor Patrick said in a statement to CBS News. "This moment isn't just about replacing Donald Trump, but about pulling the nation together and bringing us closer to an America that fulfills her promise."

Skipping Iowa, a move employed by the late Senator John McCain to jumpstart his 2008 presidential bid, proves risky in a crowded field of contenders jockeying for coveted "momentum." Yet the former civil rights attorney and corporate executive has made no secret of his strategy: Courting voters who share a border with the state he commandeered for eight years as the governor of Massachusetts.

"Granite Staters hold a special power, and their decision will help determine the future of this country," Patrick said. "I am grateful to have the opportunity to spend so much time listening to the people of New Hampshire before February 11."

While Patrick jumped into the primary just a few months ago in November, he has made twelve trips to the state, campaigning eighteen days in-state with over 30 campaign events. He's spent more time in the state than former Vice President Joe Biden. 

In contrast to his New Hampshire visits, the former Massachusetts Governor has racked up nine trips to South Carolina, three visits to Nevada and a single two-stop campaign tour of Iowa.

Boasting a "Bay State advantage," Patrick's proximity to New Hampshire as Massachusetts' former governor grants him built-in name recognition, a nearby supply of volunteers, and outsized exposure in the Boston media market, assets that historically boost campaigns toward first-in-the-nation-success. Former Massachusetts lawmakers Mitt Romney, John Kerry, Paul Tsongas and Edward Kennedy all saw formidable upsets in New Hampshire primaries past.

The recent dip of Senator Elizabeth Warren – the other lawmaker from Massachusetts – in New Hampshire could provide an opportunity for Patrick to leverage that advantage.  But according to CBS News' latest New Hampshire Battleground Tracker Poll, Patrick holds just 1% of likely New Hampshire voters. 

The campaign got a boost on Friday with an endorsement from New Hampshire State Senator David Watters. Watters formerly supported Senator Cory Booker, and was an early endorser of then-Senator Barack Obama during his 2008 presidential bid.

The six-term state lawmaker said he sees "deep similarities" between Obama and his 2020 presidential pick in their "commitment to the American dream."

During the "Meet the Moment" bus tour, Patrick will pay visits to local Democratic groups, students, and business leaders. According to the campaign, the presidential road trip will make stops at five New Hampshire colleges: Dartmouth, Colby Sawyer, University of New Hampshire, Franklin Pierce and Southern New Hampshire University. Patrick is set to deliver remarks at the New Hampshire ACLU on January 30, and to appear at the World Affairs Council of New Hampshire on January 31.

Patrick is the second candidate to launch a bus tour in New Hampshire. Former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg launched his own four-day trip last November.

Senator Watters said he thinks voters will "see somebody with hope, somebody who gets things done by asking people to come together."

The senator quipped that a February bus tour is itself a true testament to hope, given New Hampshire's often-treacherous winter weather. "I'm gonna get on that bus for at least a day. And we're gonna have a lot of fun," Watters told CBS News in a phone interview. 

"We've had a tough two weeks in America, with the impeachment trial. And the primary is getting a little nasty, which is inevitable between the candidates. I think people will see that this guy is a lot of fun. He's going to bring a really good message."

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