Sanders Comes Out on Top in New Hampshire, Buttigieg Makes Strong Showing

Socialist Bernie Sanders won New Hampshire’s presidential primary, just barely overcoming more moderate rival Pete Buttigieg and scoring the first clear victory in the Democratic Party’s turbulent 2020 nomination fight.

In his Tuesday night win, Sanders, a self-described “democratic” socialist, beat back a formidable test from the 38-year-old former mayor of South Bend, Indiana. The two Democrats represent the vastly different ideologies within the Democratic party, namely the radical-left wing of the party that has openly adopted a socialist agenda, and the “establishment” wing of the party that is struggling to preserve more traditional and electable values.

As Sanders and Buttigieg celebrated, Amy Klobuchar scored an unexpected third-place finish that gives her a road out of New Hampshire as the primary season moves on to the string of state-by-state contests that lie ahead. Klobuchar has been surging in the latest round of polling out this week following what has largely been seen as a strong debate performance last week.

Elizabeth Warren and Joe Biden both posted disappointing fourth and fifth place finishes respectively and were on track to finish with zero delegates from the granite state.

The New Hampshire primary gives some much needed new clarity to a discombobulated Democratic contest that is shaping up to be a battle between two polar opposites that separated by more than four decades in age and clashing political ideologies.

Sanders is a leading ultra-progressive voice, who has spent decades demanding substantial government intervention in health care and other sectors of the economy. Buttigieg, on the other hand, has pressed for more modest change and has opposed the overly leftist approach and policy positions of some of his Democratic colleagues.

Their different temperaments were on display Tuesday as they spoke before cheering supporters.

“We are gonna win because we have the agenda that speaks to the needs of working people across this country,” Sanders declared. “This victory here is the beginning of the end for Donald Trump.”

Buttigieg struck an optimistic tone: “Thanks to you, a campaign that some said shouldn’t be here at all has shown that we are here to stay.”

Both men have strength heading into the next phase of the campaign, yet they face very different political challenges.

While Warren made clear she will remain in the race, Sanders, well-financed and with enthusiastic supporters, has solidified his status as the clear national leader of the progressive wing of the party.

Meanwhile, Buttigieg must prove he can attract support from voters of color who are critical to winning the party’s nomination. And unlike Sanders, he still has multiple rivals in his own ideological wing of the party to contend with. Including Klobuchar, Bloomberg, and Joe Biden.

While deeply wounded, Biden promises strength in the upcoming South Carolina round of the primaries. And though former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg was not on Tuesday’s ballot, he looms next month when the contest reaches states offering hundreds of delegates.

After a chaotic beginning to primary voting last week in Iowa, Democrats trusted New Hampshire would help give shape to their urgent quest to pick someone to take on President Trump later on this year. At least two candidates dropped out in the wake of weak finishes Tuesday night: moderate Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet and political newcomer Andrew Yang, who attracted a small but loyal following over the past year and was one of just three candidates of color left in the race.

The struggling candidates still in the race sought to minimize the latest results.

Warren, who spent months as a Democratic front-runner, offered an optimistic outlook as she faced cheering supporters: “Our campaign is built for the long haul, and we are just getting started.”

Having already predicted he would “take a hit” in New Hampshire after a distant fourth-place finish in Iowa, Biden essentially gave up on the state. He traveled to South Carolina Tuesday as he bet his candidacy on a strong showing there later this month boosted by support from black voters.

Both men have strength heading into the next phase of the campaign, yet they face very different political challenges.

The AP allocated nine delegates each to Sanders and Buttigieg and six to Klobuchar.

The action was on the Democratic side, but the President easily won New Hampshire’s Republican primary. He was facing token opposition from former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld.

With most of the vote in, the Trump campaign already had amassed more votes in the New Hampshire primary than any incumbent president in history. His vote share was approaching the modern historical high for an incumbent president, 86.43% set by Ronald Reagan in 1984. Weld received about 9% of the vote of New Hampshire Republicans.

The political spotlight quickly shifts to Nevada, where Democrats will hold caucuses on Feb. 22. But several candidates, including Warren and Sanders, plan to visit other states in the coming days that vote on Super Tuesday, signaling they are in the race for the long haul.

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