12 February 2020 08:33

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Sanders won, Klobuchar is up, Biden down but despite some candidates dropping out, Democratic race is set for long haul Bernie Sanders held a narrow lead over the former South Bend mayor Pete Buttigieg in the results of the New Hampshire Democratic primary on Tuesday night, with Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar surging into third place. Q&A Why is New Hampshire important? Show Hide While Iowa traditionally holds the first caucuses in the presidential election, New Hampshire has held the first primary since 1920. The goal for presidential candidates is to win early-voting states and create name recognition and a sense of momentum, as well to pick up their first delegates, who will eventually choose the nominee in summer. Sometimes a clear favorite for the nomination emerges quickly, but the last two major Democratic primary contests, pitting Barack Obama against Hillary Clinton and then Bernie Sanders against Clinton, have lasted from the Iowa caucuses in January through to late spring.

But the night was disappointing for two prominent White House hopefuls – The Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren and former vice-president Joe Biden, neither of whom was on track to receive any delegates. The story of the night was the late surge by Klobuchar who had languished in polling for months before a strong debate performance on Friday propelled her into the New Hampshire conversation. New Hampshire: Sanders declares victory with Buttigieg a close second Read more The importance of her third place in the Granite State – following a dismal fifth place showing in Iowa last week – should not be underestimated. Klobuchar, a moderate, finished way ahead of the better-known, and better-funded, Warren and Biden. Her dismantling of Buttigieg in Friday night's debate – she dismissed the 38-year-old former mayor as a "cool newcomer" who would rather watch cartoons than sit through Donald Trump's impeachment trial – drew in $3m in donations over the weekend, and saw her soar in the polls.

There are doubts over whether Klobuchar – who largely focused on campaigning in Iowa – has the money or the campaign infrastructure to continue her surge. But with Biden in decline, his centrist voters are there for the taking. Until now Buttigieg has been the main beneficiary, but after this strong showing, people are likely to take a closer look at Klobuchar in the coming weeks. Joe Biden entered the Democratic race as the frontrunner, but has now lost – heavily – in the first two states to vote, raising serious questions about whether the former vice-president can arrest his decline. Biden had attempted a rebrand in New Hampshire, which appears to have failed dramatically.

Biden's main selling point was supposed to be electability, but his vision for America has now been emphatically rejected by voters in two early voting states. He desperately needs a win in Nevada or South Carolina – the next two states to vote – or run the risk of this becoming his third failed bid for the presidency. After a lackluster turnout in Iowa, the New Hampshire primary yielded much better news for Democrats. With 90% of the estimated vote reporting, the vote tally had already surpassed 2016's 250,983, according to NBC News, and was approaching 2008's record of 288,672 voters. It comes on the back of a disappointing level of engagement in Iowa, where Democrats hoped to replicate the numbers and enthusiasm of 2008, when more than 239,000 voted, but instead saw just 176,000 turn up at the caucuses. Donald Trump's 2016 win was attributed, in part, to an enthusiasm gap, with some Barack Obama voters staying home instead of voting for the Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. After Iowa, fears had mounted that Democratic voters might again be less enthused by their choices, but New Hampshire's turnout is a source of encouragement. In a result that might dent Sanders' celebrations, exit polls also showed a lower number of young people – a source of strength for Sanders – cast their vote than in 2016. Though Sanders emerges strongest from Iowa and New Hampshire, the signs are pointing to a long race. After Buttigieg's quasi-win in Iowa and second-place finish on Tuesday, the former mayor isn't going anywhere – but the same could be said of a number of others. Biden has crumpled so far in the primary, but is likely to win in South Carolina at the end of the month and is well-placed in the delegate-rich states that vote on Super Tuesday on 3 March. The billionaires Michael Bloomberg and Tom Steyer don't have the widespread organic support of Sanders, but they have collectively spent hundreds of millions of dollars so far, and have neither the desire nor need to drop out. Klobuchar has said she plans to continue her own fight for the White House, buoyed by a surge in campaign donations. Indeed, it is Warren who looks increasingly vulnerable as the primary moves on to Nevada a week on Saturday. Warren, who briefly led the field in October, finished in fourth place in New Hampshire, a severe blow. The Massachusetts senator reminded her supporters: "We're just two states in" on Tuesday, but she would have been hoping to have performed better so far. New Hampshire put paid to the campaigns of Michael Bennet and Andrew Yang, who had fought on despite underwhelming Iowa performances. The businessman's commitment to introduce a universal basic income drew him support among young voters in particular, but didn't translate to votes. Bennet joins the list of US senators who have failed to gain traction and been forced to watch as the less experienced Buttigieg has soared. One person who didn't drop out is Tulsi Gabbard, despite finishing with fewer votes than either Steyer or Yang. — Senator Bernie Sanders narrowly won the New Hampshire primary on Tuesday, consolidating support on the left and fending off a late charge by two moderate rivals to claim his second strong showing in two weeks and establish himself as a formidable contender for the Democratic nomination. Mr. Sanders had about 26 percent of the vote with 90 percent of the ballots counted, while former Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind., was a close second. Mr. Buttigieg split the centrist vote with Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, who surged in New Hampshire to finish in third. Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Mr. Sanders's progressive rival, finished a distant fourth in her neighboring state, and in a stinging blow to his candidacy, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. finished fifth. The results raised immediate questions about how much longer Mr. Biden and Ms. Warren, onetime front-runners, could afford to continue their campaigns. AFP/Getty Images Bernie Sanders, flanked by his wife Jane O'Meara Sanders, arrives to speak at the SNHU Field House in Manchester, N.H., on Tuesday night. Bernie Sanders won New Hampshire's first-in-the-nation Democratic primary on Tuesday, narrowly topping nearest competitor Pete Buttigieg as voters went for the self-avowed democratic socialist over the former mayor of South Bend, Ind. Networks called the race for Sanders with more than 80% of the results in, about a week after the Feb. 3 Iowa caucuses resulted in a virtual tie between the two contenders. "This victory here is the beginning of the end for Donald Trump," Sanders said. Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar was in a solid third place following a strong debate performance last week, but the results were worse for Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and former Vice President Joe Biden. Biden, who placed a disappointing fifth, left New Hampshire on Tuesday evening to travel to South Carolina, a more diverse state where his campaign expects he will perform better. Biden had downplayed his chances in New Hampshire and said Tuesday night that most African-American and Latino voters had not voted yet. Sanders' performance in New Hampshire gives him momentum, with Nevada next on the calendar. South Carolina holds its primary on Feb. 29. Wall Street analysts have begun to game out a Sanders nomination even with the great majority of primaries still to come. Raymond James analysts said Sanders winning the party's nod would increase the likelihood of a victory by President Donald Trump in November, and potentially boost the chances for an all-Republican government. See: Stocks face a 'win-win-win' as Sanders leads in polls, analysts say. In Iowa and again in New Hampshire, he found himself fighting hard for votes against Buttigieg, who is seen as the more pragmatic — if less-experienced — candidate. The 38-year-old diverges from Sanders by proposing, for example, public health care to those who want it. Buttigieg's prospects are lower in South Carolina and Nevada, but he has said his early success will improve his chances with voters of color. Klobuchar, like Buttigieg and Biden, has campaigned as a moderate, and projected fresh optimism in a speech to supporters. "Hello America," she said at a rally Tuesday as the votes were still being counted. "I'm Amy Klobuchar and I will beat Donald Trump." Initially topping the Democratic field in polls, he has fallen behind Sanders in an average of national surveys. Former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg, who didn't compete in New Hampshire and is instead focusing on the Super Tuesday states, is in third place in national polls, according to RealClearPolitics. Now read: Not-on-the-ballot Bloomberg carries tiny Dixville Notch as New Hampshire primaries get underway. Warren addressed supporters in Manchester, saying Sanders and Buttigieg had "strong nights," and congratulated Klobuchar. But she decried what she said was "harsh tactics," such as an increase in negative advertisements. Trump held a rally Monday night in Manchester, urging independents who support him to back "the weakest" Democratic candidate in the primary, the Associated Press wrote. The Democrats' field shrank by two candidates on Tuesday night, with Andrew Yang and Michael Bennet ending their bids for the nomination. For Democrats, New Hampshire offers 24 delegates out of the 1,991 needed to win the party's presidential nomination. Trump won New Hampshire's Republican primary, easily defeating former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld.