Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) won the New Hampshire primary on Tuesday night, delivering a victory for his campaign after a muddled result in Iowa that produced no clear winner.
The result is significant for Sanders, though it was expected after he defeated former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton easily in New Hampshire’s primary four years ago. Sanders was also ahead in the most recent polls taken in the Granite State.
Sanders outpaced former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), who ran as moderate alternatives to the Vermont senator's anti-establishment campaign.
The race was close to the finish. With 83 percent of precincts reporting, Sanders took 25.9 percent support, compared with 24.1 percent for Buttigieg and 19.8 percent for Klobuchar.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and former Vice President Joe Biden appeared headed for distant fourth- and fifth-place finishes, raising new questions about whether they can go the distance.
The hundreds of people who packed the Southern New Hampshire University field house where Sanders gave his election victory speech exploded into a thunderous roar when he took the stage.
“This victory here is the beginning of the end of Donald Trump,” Sanders said.
The crowd erupted into chants of “Bernie beats Trump.”
Sanders's win comes after his top showing in the Iowa caucuses, though those results are still too close to call after a slew of technical errors delayed the final outcome.
The Vermont progressive won the raw popular vote in Iowa, but it appears Buttigieg may have edged him out in convention delegates. Both the Sanders and Buttigieg campaigns have asked for a partial recanvass in Iowa.
Though Sanders was the winner in New Hampshire, he once again did not run away with the victory, and Democrats now face the prospect of a long and dragged-out primary that some speculate could end in a contested convention if no one gets a majority of delegates.
Buttigieg, like Sanders, has had two strong finishes in a row, boosting a candidate who was a political unknown less than a year ago. The challenge for the former mayor going forward will be proving he can win over black and Hispanic voters.
“Thanks to you, a campaign that some said shouldn't be here at all has shown that we are here to stay,” Buttigieg said to supporters in Nashua, N.H.
The result was also a tremendous boost for Klobuchar, who finished fifth in Iowa and has consistently trailed in national and early state polls.
A strong debate performance on Friday night coupled with the struggles of Biden’s campaign appeared to lift Klobuchar to a strong result. She raised more than $2 million in the 48 hours after the debate and went up on the airwaves in Nevada on Tuesday.
“My heart is full tonight,” Klobuchar said to a group of enthusiastic supporters holding “Amy for America” signs in Concord, N.H. “While there are still ballots left to count, we have beaten the odds every step of the way.”
It was a difficult outcome for Warren, who in November led polls in New Hampshire. She has now finished third in Iowa and appears to be set for a fourth-place finish in the Granite State, which neighbors her home state of Massachusetts.
Biden, once the front-runner in the race, trailed Warren and appeared poised to add a fifth-place finish in New Hampshire to his fourth-place finish in Iowa. He faces threats from Buttigieg and now risks getting squeezed out of the race by Klobuchar, who will be in the middle of the primary fight after New Hampshire.
The former vice president downplayed expectations for New Hampshire and left the state early on Tuesday, saying he wanted to focus on South Carolina, where he has consistently led in the polls.
Biden’s campaign has argued it will do better in states with more diverse demographics than Iowa and New Hampshire, but his struggles have raised existential doubts about his path forward.
“It ain’t over, man. We’re just getting started,” Biden said from South Carolina.
But Sanders will move on to the races in Nevada and South Carolina as the front-runner.
Sanders struggled mightily in 2016 to attract voters of color but appears to have built a more diverse coalition in 2020, particularly among Latinos, who make up nearly one-third of the population in Nevada.
The Sanders campaign, which has paced the field in fundraising and brought in $25 million in January alone, invested $5.5 million in television and digital ads across 10 Super Tuesday states this week, including Texas and California, the two biggest states to vote.
His success seems likely to raise fears among the Democratic establishment that Sanders will win — and that centrist alternatives are dividing the vote against him.
Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has been blanketing the airwaves with more than $350 million in advertisements, will officially join the race for delegates on Super Tuesday.
A national Quinnipiac University survey released this week found Bloomberg surging into third place and nearly cutting Biden’s support among black voters in half.
It’s not entirely clear whether any of the other top figures will be gone by then. While businessman Andrew Yang and Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) ended their campaigns after dismal results in New Hampshire, the top five finishers in New Hampshire all seem to have arguments to keep going.
An internal memo from Warren’s campaign released hours before results started to come in from New Hampshire outlined her intentions to move onward.
Warren’s advisers said their internal polling shows that she’s poised for a top-two finish in over half the Super Tuesday states and a top-three finish in all of them.
“After New Hampshire tonight, 98% of pledged delegates will still be up for grabs,” the memo said. “And as the race consolidates after Super Tuesday, we expect the results to show that Elizabeth Warren is the consensus choice of the widest coalition of Democrats in every corner of the country.”