Fiery progressive Bernie Sanders declared victory in New Hampshire’s Democratic primary Tuesday night after maintaining a narrow lead over moderate rival Pete Buttigieg.
The race for the presidential nomination started coming into focus in New Hampshire after a rocky start in Iowa, where the caucuses were marred by technical glitches that created uncertainty.
Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Ind., made his remarks first and acknowledged the victory of Sanders, a 78-year-old senator from Vermont.
“Thanks to you, a campaign that some said shouldn’t be here at all has shown that we are here to stay,” Buttigieg, 38, told cheering supporters.
Buttigieg was closely followed by Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who had an unexpectedly strong showing and held third place all night.
“Hello, America. I’m Amy Klobuchar, and I will beat Donald Trump,” Klobuchar said in her speech Tuesday night.
WATCH | Sanders addresses supporters in New Hampshire:
New Hampshire began narrowing the Democrats’ unwieldy 2020 class even before the final results were known. Political newcomer Andrew Yang, having attracted a small but loyal following over the past year, was suspending his campaign. He was one of just three ethnic minorities left in the race.
Also out: Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet, who ran as a just-the-facts moderate in a race in which liberal candidates grabbed the headlines.
WATCH | Buttigieg in New Hampshire:
Elizabeth Warren and former vice-president Joe Biden rounded out the top five candidates, but by a wide margin. Neither of them is expected to receive delegates.
Biden opted to travel to South Carolina instead of waiting for the results in New Hampshire, and left the state hours before the final polls closed. He predicted he would “take a hit” in New Hampshire after finishing fourth place in Iowa.
“We just heard from the first two of the 50 states,” Biden said in South Carolina. “Where I come from, that’s the opening bell, not the closing bell.”
Sen. Elizabeth Warren, among the front-runners for months, was doing poorly in early results. Some election analysts considered an embarrassing defeat given her home state, Massachusetts, shares a border with New Hampshire.
WATCH | Amy Klobuchar in New Hampshire:
Warren said Sanders and Buttigieg are “both great candidates.”
“I also want to congratulate my friend and colleague Amy Klobuchar for showing just how wrong the pundits can be when they count a woman out,” Warren said.
Results rolled in relatively quickly, and Democrats in New Hampshire were confident they would have smoother sailing than in Iowa, where embarrassing technical problems delayed vote-counting and the results for days. Buttigieg narrowly beat Sanders in Iowa, but both campaigns have asked for a partial re-canvass of results.
On the Republican side, Trump was projected to win the state’s presidential primary, easily defeating rival William Weld, the former governor of neighbouring Massachusetts, according to early exit polling compiled by Edison Research.
WATCH | Warren’s speech in New Hampshire:
Democratic voters in New Hampshire chose a candidate from a ballot with 33 names, including candidates who dropped out weeks ago.
But it did not include former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, a billionaire who is not competing in any states before the 14 Super Tuesday primaries on March 3.
Sanders had taken a lead in recent opinion polls in New Hampshire despite a barrage of criticism from rivals who warned his far-left views would lead the party to defeat against Trump. His win will enhance those worries among the party establishment.
After Iowa and New Hampshire, small and rural states with predominantly white populations, the race will move on to more diverse battlegrounds that pose new tests.
Up next will be the Feb. 22 caucuses in Nevada, which has a large Latino population, and the Feb. 29 primary in South Carolina, which has a large African-American population.