Bernie Sanders, the self-declared socialist, secured a narrow victory in the New Hampshire Democratic presidential primary, fending off a strong challenge from moderate Pete Buttigieg, while Amy Klobuchar vaulted to a surprise third-place finish. The Vermont senator won 25.9 per cent, followed closely by Mr Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana on 24.4 per cent, with 96 per cent of the votes counted. Minnesota Senator Klobuchar had 19.8 per cent of the votes.
Two former front-runners suffered crushing setbacks. Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren won 9.3 per cent and former vice-president Joe Biden only took 8.4 per cent. “What we have done together here is nothing short of the beginning of a political revolution,” Mr Sanders said.
At a rally in Manchester, Mr Sanders claimed victory not just in New Hampshire, but in last week’s Iowa presidential caucuses, where he won the popular vote while Mr Buttigieg walked away with the most delegates. “We are taking on billionaires and we are taking on candidates funded by billionaires, but we are going to win because we have the agenda that speaks to the needs of working people of this country,” Mr Sanders said. It was an apparent reference to former New York mayor Mike Bloomberg and Mr Buttigieg, a prolific fundraiser who has also raised money from wealthy donors.
Supporters of Mr Sanders had earlier booed Mr Buttigieg, chanting “Wall Street Pete!” But Mr Sanders made a call for party unity, saying all the candidates and their supporters would back whoever was chosen to face Mr Trump. “No matter who wins — and we certainly hope its going to be us — we are going to unite together and defeat the most dangerous president in the modern history of this country,” Mr Sanders said.
Mr Buttigieg addressed fans in Nashua to celebrate a result for the 38-year-old that was seen as impressive given that Mr Sanders is from the neighbouring state of Vermont and had beaten Hillary Clinton by 22 points in the New Hampshire primary in 2016. “Here in a state that goes by the motto ‘Live Free or Die’ you made up your own minds,” Mr Buttigieg said.
“And thanks to you, a campaign some said shouldn’t be here at all, has shown that we are here to stay.” He also took aim at Mr Sanders and Mr Biden — but not by name — as he stressed that he was an outsider with fresh ideas. “So many of you chose to meet a new era of challenge with a new generation of leadership,” he said.
Ms Klobuchar, who used a strong performance in last Friday’s televised debate to sprint past Mr Biden and Ms Warren, credited her “happy, scrappy campaign” for her rise. “Hello America. I’m Amy Klobuchar and I will beat Donald Trump,” she said. “We have beaten the odds every step of the way. We have done it on the merits, we have done it with ideas, and we have done it with hard work.”
on her move into the top tier, Ms Klobuchar announced a “seven-figure ad buy”
in Nevada, the next Democratic contest in nearly two weeks. The ads were
due to run in the Las Vegas and Reno markets beginning on Wednesday. The
Democratic field also narrowed on Tuesday as entrepreneur Andrew Yang and
Michael Bennet, a Colorado senator, dropped out of the race.
Ms Warren and Mr Biden both put a positive spin on their defeats, saying the primary campaign was a long race and that only two states had cast their votes so far. “We still have 98 per cent of our delegates …up for grabs,” Ms Warren said, before congratulating Ms Klobuchar “for showing just how wrong the pundits can be when they count a woman out.” The contenders were fighting for as many of the 24 delegates awarded on Tuesday.
The eventual Democratic nominee will need at least 1,991 delegates to win the nomination. Mr Sanders and Mr Buttigieg won nine delegates each, while Ms Klobuchar won six. The combined results of the Iowa and New Hampshire contests left Mr Buttigieg in the lead with 23 delegates and Mr Sanders with 21. Ms Klobuchar had seven delegates.
After failing to hit the 15 per cent threshold needed to win delegates in New Hampshire, Ms Warren remained on eight, while Mr Biden lagged in fifth place with six delegates. For Mr Biden, the result put a severe dent in his claim that he would beat Donald Trump “like a drum” with broad national appeal.
In a sign of how badly he did on Tuesday, Mr Biden abandoned his own election-night rally in New Hampshire, and flew to South Carolina where he hopes that African-American voters will help him recover from his dismal start to the 2020 race. “We just heard from the first two of 50 states,” Mr Biden told supporters in Columbia, South Carolina. “Where I come from, that’s the opening bell, not the closing bell. The fight to end Donald Trump’s presidency is just beginning.”