Bernie Sanders narrowly wins New Hampshire Democratic primary, Joe Biden lags badly

Reuters MANCHESTER | Updated on February 12, 2020

Senator Bernie Sanders, an Independent from Vermont and 2020 presidential candidate, has won the New Hampshire primary.   -  Bloomberg

Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar finished in the second and third spot

Bernie Sanders narrowly won New Hampshire's Democratic presidential primary on Tuesday, solidifying his front-runner status in the nominating race and dealing a setback to moderate rival Joe Biden, who appeared likely to finish a disappointing fifth.

Sanders, a progressive senator from neighbouring Vermont, fended off attacks from rivals who warned his far-left views would lead the party to defeat in the November 3 election against Republican President Donald Trump.

“Let me take this opportunity to thank the people of New Hampshire for a great victory tonight,” Sanders told supporters in Manchester, New Hampshire.


Moderate Pete Buttigieg, the 38-year-old former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, was in second place after edging out Sanders in last week’s chaotic and disputed first nominating contest in Iowa. Both campaigns have asked for a partial recanvass of Iowa results.


It was also a good night for Senator Amy Klobuchar, who rode a wave of momentum from a strong debate on Friday into an apparent third-place finish.

End of the road for Joe Biden?

Biden, the former vice president who was once the front-runner in the Democratic race, limped to his second consecutive poor finish after placing fourth in Iowa. He is certain to face growing questions about his campaign's viability and his ability to consolidate moderate support against a surging Buttigieg and Klobuchar.

Biden fared poorly in two previous runs for president before winning election in 2008 as President Barack Obama’s No 2. He hopes to stay afloat this time until the February 29 contest in South Carolina and a series of contests in other Southern states on Super Tuesday on March 3, where his support among African Americans will be a strength.

Without strong showings there, his race could be over. “It ain’t over, man. It’s just getting started,” Biden told supporters in South Carolina. Support for Biden, who once led in national polls among Democrats, has tumbled since his poor performance in Iowa. He had said he might suffer another weak finish in New Hampshire.

Elizabeth Warren’s poor showing

US Senator Elizabeth Warren, a progressive ally of Sanders who was considered a favourite in New Hampshire three months ago, also had a bad night. She finished fourth, and also will face questions about her continued viability.

The results began to thin the field of Democrats seeking the right to take on Trump in the November 3 election, with businessman Andrew Yang and Senator Michael Bennet dropping out after it became clear they would finish well out of the running. CBS News reported that Deval Patrick, the former Massachusetts governor, would drop out on Wednesday.

The departures of Yang and Bennet left nine Democratic candidates still running.

Yang, 45, who was bidding to be the country's first Asian-American president, had surprised many observers by qualifying for debates and remaining in the contest longer than some veteran politicians.

Bennet, 55, a moderate from Colorado who had stressed improving education for Americans, told supporters it was ”fitting” to end his campaign in New Hampshire, where he had campaigned heavily.

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 February 22 caucuses in Nevada, which has a large Latino population, and the February 29 primary in South Carolina, which has a large African-American population.

Trump wins Republic primary

Meanwhile, President Donald Trump was the projected as the winner of the Republican presidential primary in New Hampshire on Tuesday, according to early exit polling compiled by Edison Research.

The exit poll, which was released shortly before polls closed in New Hampshire, showed Trump with 86.6 percent of the vote with 20 percent of precincts reporting. Former Massachusetts Governor William Weld won 8.2 percent and write-ins came in at 2.8 percent.

Edison Research compiles exit polls and live election results for media organizations including ABC News, CBS News, CNN, NBC News and Reuters.

Published on February 12, 2020

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