MANCHESTER, N.H. — On Sunday, supporters of President Donald Trump set up camp in downtown Manchester, complete with canvas tents and RV's flying the president's flag, ahead of his rally at the Southern New Hampshire University Arena scheduled for Monday night.

Against this backdrop, former Mass. Gov. Bill Weld pulled into the parking lot of Murphy’s Diner on Elm Street, underneath a billboard advertising the president's upcoming rally.

Weld shook hands with residents and went table to table, trying to convince voters that he is the right candidate to — as he puts it — save the Republican party before it’s too late.

Later that afternoon, about 20 miles south in Nashua, another former governor of Massachusetts, Deval Patrick, prepared his own pitch about why he’s best suited to unseat Trump. Inside of a home set back on a manicured lawn with a columned porch, Patrick offered a passionate appeal to the volunteers preparing to canvass on his behalf.

The narrative about the divided nature of the Democratic party, driven by the opposing points of view of the leading candidates, he said, is overblown.

“You don’t have to hate moderation to be a progressive,” Patrick said.

Both former governors told WGBH News' Morning Edition host Joe Mathieu that they’re in the race for the long run — despite the uphill battle they face.

Weld won less than 2 percent of votes in the Iowa caucuses, according to the Associated Press, and hasraised around $1.7 million since officially announcing his campaign last April. Meanwhile, Trump’s campaign has pulled in over $230 million, according to data from the Federal Election Commission.

Patrick has polled at just under 2 percent, according to polling over the past month from the University of New Hampshire Survey Center, and has yet to qualify for a national debate after his late entry into the race in November. But Patrick rejected the idea that his late entry immediately disqualifies his prospects.

“Not a soul has voted yet [in New Hampshire],” he said. If voters pay too much attention to other people's perceptions about his chances, Patrick continued, they are essentially conceding their voice at the ballot box.

In a primary race that has recently seen the more moderate-leaning Pete Buttigieg, former mayor of South Bend, Ind., jump to second place behind Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, Patrick said that his progressive record in Massachusetts — combined with his message of cooperation — is the best strategy to unite the Democratic party as well as bring in moderate Republicans against Trump.

“We wonder why we’re divided. It’s because we don’t know each other. We’re not engaged with each other,” Patrick said. “I’m not running to be the president of Democrats, I’m running to be president of the United States.”

David Tencza, who is on the Board of Alderman for Nashua and helped introduce Patrick to his supporters on Sunday, acknowledged the challenges his late entry presents. But he said New Hampshire won’t determine Patrick's campaign’s future.

“I’ve met nearly every candidate, and there was no one I could really get behind until I met Gov. Patrick," Tencza said. "It’s a long race. I know as people get to know him, they’ll realize he’s the right candidate.”

According to a pair of polls this week, a significant chunk of likely Democratic primary voters — perhaps even as many as 38 percent — are still undecided ahead of Tuesday's vote.

“In historic terms, it’s late to be this open, but it’s also not surprising," Patrick said. "When I think about this moment in time and the enormity of the challenge ... which includes but isn’t limited to defeating President Trump, it’s also about how we re-knit a national community.”

While Democrat voters continue to weigh their options, Weld confronts a party that is almost unanimously unified behind the president. According to Gallup polls, he has a 94 percent approval rate among Republicans.

Weld acknowledged he faces a daunting task trying to compete against a president who is enjoying being able to highlight a soaring stock market and steady job growth.

“I think presidents and governors get too much blame and too much credit for the economy,” Weld said.

He also said that the president’s popularity has the power to convince his supporters to get behind issues at his rallies that are traditionally antithetical to the Republican platform, such as tariffs.

“He could chant about ukuleles or alligators and the place would go wild," Weld said. "It tells me that [his supporters] love a good party. And he does give a good party at the rallies. And if you don’t listen to what he says, it’s good entertainment.”

Angel Shaskey, a vendor from Spring Hill, Fla., who set up a tent selling Trump merchandise in the parking lot outside of Murphy’s Diner where Weld spoke to WGBH News, focused on the economy to explain her support. She drives around the country following Trump rallies to sell her merchandise.

When asked about Weld, she laughed.

“I don’t know what his motivation is, because he’s not going to win. Maybe for the publicity,” Shaskey said.

Weld sees it differently. Despite the popularity, he said he still encounters Republicans who are looking for an alternative. He said he is going to keep campaigning leading up to Super Tuesday, when a dozen states will hold primaries — including Massachusetts.

By the time Weld left the diner on Sunday, when the temperature hovered around 30 degrees, Trump supporters already started to set up lawn chairs and tents outside the SNHU Arena to wait for over 30 hours to see the president hold his rally.