Goodnight New Hampshire… And Hello Nevada!
The New Hampshire primary ends tonight with a win for Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and a strong showing for former South Bend Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar.
Sanders and Buttigieg each came out with nine delegates from the state, and Klobuchar gained six.
New Hampshire voters delivered disappointing results for former Vice President Joe Biden and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren. Neither crossed the 15% threshold needed to receive any delegates.
Nevada’s contest will happen in fewer than two weeks and once again hold new potential for the candidates.
Most notably, while the large majority of primary voters in New Hampshire are white, Nevada is one of just five states where whites make up a minority of the population.
Also, the upcoming February 22 contest is a caucus and not a primary. And, similar to the Iowa caucuses, there are changes to Nevada’s caucus process from past years.
For the first time, the Democratic Party is allowing early caucusing for four days next week, in an effort to increase accessibility.
The party was also originally planning to use the same company that Iowa used for a key reporting technology, but after last week’s malfunctions, the party severed ties with the company.
Reports this week indicate that Democrats there are turning to a more paper-based method, but the party has not publicly detailed its plans.
NPR will be launching live analysis and fact checks for both the upcoming Nevada caucuses and South Carolina primary.↑ Back to top
Democratic Turnout Surpasses 2008 Record
The results are still filtering in — 93% of precincts have now reported — but turnout has now surpassed the 2008 record. That’s a relief for many Democrats.
More than 288,000 voters cast ballots in this Democratic primary, with 7% of precincts still to come in. The record in 2008 — when Hillary Clinton bested Barack Obama and others — was 287,556. In 2016 — when Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders beat Clinton easily in New Hampshire — turnout was 249,587.
Turnout has been a point concern for many Democrats since last week’s Iowa caucuses, when fewer caucusgoers showed up at precincts than several candidates and party leaders had hoped. For Iowa Democrats, it was on par with 2016, which was not a good omen for the party. Turnout is a good indicator of voters’ general enthusiasm.
Sanders, whose campaign strategy focuses on getting new voters to the polls, has said that the best way to beat President Trump in November is to drive up turnout. But, he conceded in recent days, “the [Iowa] turnout was not as high as I wanted it to be.”
The New Hampshire turnout should assuage some Democratic concerns. But remember that the primaries there are semi-open, meaning independent voters can participate in either the Republican or Democratic primary. As NPR’s Domenico Montanaro has reported, “In a year when only one party is holding a competitive primary, more independents might be expected to vote in the competitive one.”
So, Democrats might not be able to count on all those voters to be on their side come November.
This story has been updated with new turnout information.↑ Back to top
Bernie Sanders Projected To Win
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is projected to win the New Hampshire Democratic primary, according to the Associated Press. Sanders was ahead throughout the night but faced a close contest from Pete Buttigieg, former mayor of South Bend, Ind.
Speaking to supporters in Manchester late Tuesday evening, Sanders said his win marked "the beginning of the end for Donald Trump."
The victory, combined with Sanders’ finish in a virtual tie with Buttigieg in last week’s still-muddled Iowa caucuses, cements a candidate who spent much of his career as a political outsider — and still is not a member of the Democratic Party — as a top contender for its presidential nomination.↑ Back to top
Buttigieg Tells His Supporters: ‘We Are Here To Stay’
After a strong second-place showing in New Hampshire, Pete Buttigieg took the stage to thank his supporters and said his campaign “has shown that we are here to stay.”
“In this election season, we have been told by some that you must either be for a revolution or you are for the status quo,” the former South Bend, Ind., mayor said. “But where does that leave the rest of us?”
“Most Americans don’t see where they fit in that polarized vision, and we can’t defeat the most divisive president in modern American history by tearing down anybody who doesn’t agree with us 100% of the time,” he said.
Buttigieg finished behind Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and acknowledged Sanders’ win.
"I admired Senator Sanders when I was a high school student, I respect him greatly to this day, and I congratulate him on his strong showing tonight," Buttigieg said.↑ Back to top
Patrick To Make Decision On Campaign In Wake Of New Hampshire
Former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick will make a decision on Wednesday on the future of his race for the Democratic nomination, a spokeswoman said, slamming a CBS report that said Patrick was expected to leave the race after a poor performance in the New Hampshire primary.
Patrick’s communications director, Aleigha Cavalier, said on Twitter that the CBS report was “wildly, wildly irresponsible.” Patrick earned less than 1% of total votes in the New Hampshire primary, with more than 70% of precincts reporting.
Update: Cavalier’s tweet has since been deleted.↑ Back to top
Sanders Still Leading, But Buttigieg Close Second
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders remains the leader in the Democratic primary in New Hampshire, with over 60% of the precincts reporting, according to the Associated Press.
Sanders won the primary in the state four years ago by over 20 points but is facing a close challenge from Pete Buttigieg, former mayor of South Bend, Ind. Both have seen large crowds in the final days of the campaign as they battle for the winning message among Democratic voters.
Sanders continues to push for bold policy proposals like “Medicare for All” and free tuition at public colleges and universities. Buttigieg argues it’s time for fresh leadership and he’s the candidate who can unite a broad range of voters to defeat President Trump in November.↑ Back to top
Buoyed By New Hampshire Surge, Klobuchar Introduces Herself To America
Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar basked in the glow of better-than-expected support in the New Hampshire primary, delivering a speech to supporters in prime time — and taking the opportunity to share her biography.
“Hello, America. I am Amy Klobuchar and I will beat Donald Trump,” she began, addressing a crowd in Concord, N.H., with details about her family’s background.
She stressed her campaign’s theme of unity, arguing that Democrats “cannot win big by trying to outdivide the divider in chief” and that they instead need to embrace a broad coalition.
“Donald Trump’s worst nightmare is that the people in the middle — the people tired of the name-calling and the mudslinging — have someone to vote for in November,” she told her supporters, who responded by chanting, “Beat Trump, Vote Amy.”
Early results show Klobuchar in third place in New Hampshire, exceeding expectations after lagging in national polls to date. She sought to frame the outcome as a comeback for her campaign.
“Everyone had counted us out, even a week ago — thank you, pundits. I came back, and we delivered,” she said.↑ Back to top
Warren Supporters: It’s A Marathon, Not A Sprint
Results were still coming in from across New Hampshire when Sen. Elizabeth Warren addressed supporters gathered in the Executive Health & Sports Center in Manchester.
“Right now, it is clear that Senator Sanders and Mayor Buttigieg had strong nights, and 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.
Before launching into a version of her stump speech, she told the crowd it’s possible the Democratic Party is headed for a long primary fight. She called Sanders and Buttigieg people she respects and said they would both make a better president than Donald Trump. But she warned about recent negativity coming from within the party.
She called out the recent negative ads and said the harsh tactics from campaigns may work “if [they’re] willing to burn down the rest of the party in order to be the last man standing.”
She maintains she’s the candidate who can bring in the broadest coalition within the Democratic Party.
Alice Donnaselva drove from Concord to hear Warren speak. She has been a Warren supporter since Warren got into the race and isn’t concerned that a lower-place finish for Warren in the primary prevents her from gaining momentum down the road.
“She’s come from behind before and she built support, so I think that’s still possible,” Donnaselva said. “I think we tend to think, ‘Oh, after one contest, it’s over’ — and it’s not over.”
Robert Peters agrees. Warren represents him in the Senate, and he says that although he’s somewhat disappointed by the evening’s results, he’s heartened by the fact that Warren says her campaign will continue.
“There’s a lot of fight left in her and a lot of territory left in the United States that we need to hear from,” he said. “As a former Californian, I think that one American in eight is Californian, and they need to have their say in this as well as the rest of us.”
Fellow Massachusetts voter Milo Bezark wants pundits to hold off on predictions for now.
“This is like a marathon, not a sprint,” Bezark smiled. “And so I think it’ll be OK. I came here to get an extra boost of Warren love, and I definitely got that.”↑ Back to top
Money Buys Exposure, Not The Election — Bloomberg Adviser
Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into the Democratic presidential contest. But Tim O’Brien, a senior adviser to his campaign, told NPR, “I think you can buy exposure — you can’t buy an election.”
Bloomberg did not compete in the New Hampshire primary and is focused on buying ads and hiring scores of staffers to focus on states holding elections in March. He faced intense criticism Tuesday following the release of audio from a 2015 speech in which the then-mayor defended aggressive “stop and frisk” police tactics in minority neighborhoods. Bloomberg apologized for backing the policy — which O’Brien reiterated in an interview on NPR on Tuesday.
“Mike made a huge mistake and he stood by this for too long. He should have let go of it earlier. I think he deeply regrets having been part of that policy.”
Without naming former Vice President Joe Biden, O’Brien also suggested that other Democrats would need to account for their support of tough laws that have now come under criticism among African American voters. “It’s interesting to me that the 1994 crime bill is not out there being discussed as much as stop-and-frisk is,” O’Brien said.
O’Brien contrasted Bloomberg with another wealthy candidate in the race, Tom Steyer. Steyer spent a lot of money in New Hampshire yet did not get a significant bump in the polls. “Mike Bloomberg has bought exposure. And what that exposure has earned him is the ability to tell people his full story. And I think as voters get acquainted with that, they’re impressed by it.”↑ Back to top
Biden: ‘It Ain’t Over, Man’
At Joe Biden’s primary night party in Nashua, a stately lectern flanked by flags is set up at the front of the hotel ballroom. But when Biden spoke to the small crowd of mostly campaign staffers and volunteers here tonight, it was over livestream, from the big television screens set up on either side of the stage.
“Now Jill and I are moving on to South Carolina and Nevada and beyond,” Biden said over the livestream, standing next to his wife, Jill Biden. “And we want you all to know how much we appreciate everything you’ve done.”
Biden was supposed to take the stage at his primary night party, but he abruptly left New Hampshire this afternoon for South Carolina, where he’s holding a campaign event tonight. Instead, his sister, Valerie Biden Owens, gave a short speech before introducing her brother, who then materialized on the screens beside her to cheers from the crowd. Following a disappointing fourth-place finish in Iowa and anticipating another poor performance in New Hampshire, Biden is looking later in the primary calendar, particularly to South Carolina, where he has been polling well with black voters.
“We’re going to be back in New Hampshire,” Biden said. “We’re going to be back there to defeat Donald Trump in November, elect Jeanne Shaheen the next senator again, and up and down the ticket. So you’re not getting rid of us. We’re coming back and we love you. We’re going on, and we’re going to win in Nevada and South Carolina.”
State Rep. Bruce Cohen, who was an early Biden supporter in Nashua, was mingling at Biden HQ with his wife, Diane.
“I love New Hampshire — New Hampshire is great,” Cohen said. “But we are a small population. We have a handful of delegates. We’re a jumping-off point, but we’re not the endpoint of the picture here.”
Cohen said he’s surprised that Biden didn’t gain traction in New Hampshire but says he’s not sweating the former vice president’s prospects yet.
“I’m not worried about him at all,” he said. “He’s a brilliant person. He knows what he’s doing. And he’s looking at what’s happened in New Hampshire and Iowa, and he’s taking next steps. He’s not here tonight because he needs to get his message out in South Carolina. I’ll worry in June if it looks bad, but I’m not worried at all.”
And he’s not miffed that Biden didn’t show up here tonight.
“I trust his judgement, so I’m not bummed at all. I miss him, but I trust him.”
Biden later spoke from South Carolina. “It ain’t over, man,” he said. “We’re just getting started.” Biden appeared more at ease in South Carolina, where he is expected to perform much better, especially with African American voters.
“When I die, I’d like to be reborn in Charleston,” he told the crowd.
Jessica Taylor contributed to this report.↑ Back to top
Trump Attacks Warren’s Standing After His N.H. Win
Just an hour after being declared the winner in the New Hampshire Republican primary, President Trump took to Twitter to criticize Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s performance tonight.
With less than half of Democratic primary results reported, Warren currently holds fourth place at about 10%. She has yet to surpass the 15% threshold needed to achieve any delegates in the Granite State.↑ Back to top
Only Sanders, Buttigieg, Klobuchar Poised To Leave N.H. With Delegates
With about a third of New Hampshire precincts in, it’s noteworthy that only three candidates look like they will leave the state with any of its 24 delegates — which requires crossing a 15% threshold. Those candidates are Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar. Democrats, unlike Republicans, award their delegates proportionally, not on a winner-take-all basis.
All three got delegates out of Iowa too, but in a distant fourth and fifth are Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and former Vice President Joe Biden, respectively. Both campaigned heavily in New Hampshire, but each is currently well below 15%.
You can track the delegates throughout the campaign with NPR’s delegate tracker here.↑ Back to top
9 Candidates Left
As results out of New Hampshire come in, Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet and entrepreneur Andrew Yang have withdrawn from the 2020 presidential race.
Bennet’s and Yang’s departures tonight leave nine candidates in the running for the Democratic nomination.
With more than 30% of precincts reporting, Sen. Bernie Sanders maintains a lead over the rest of the field, followed by former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar.
Check out NPR’s candidate tracker here.
Warren Decries ‘Fight Between Factions’
Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren praised her competition Tuesday evening and denounced the bitter attacks that have begun to emerge in the contentious Democratic presidential primary.
“The fight between factions in our party has taken a sharp turn in recent weeks, with ads mocking other candidates and with supporters of some candidates shouting curses at other Democratic candidates,” she told supporters at an election night event in Manchester, N.H. “These harsh tactics might work if you are willing to burn down the rest of the party in order to be the last man standing.”
Warren said that a victory over President Trump would be possible only if the Democratic Party was united. “Look, we cannot afford to fall into factions. We can’t afford to squander our collective power. We win when we come together,” she said.
With early results showing her lagging behind Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Warren took to the stage not long after the last polls closed in New Hampshire at 8 p.m. EST.
Echoing a memo released by her campaign manager, Roger Lau, earlier in the evening, Warren emphasized that a long primary process remains ahead. “The question for us Democrats will be whether it will be a long, bitter rehash of the same old fights in our party, or whether we can find another way.”
Yang: ‘Trump Is Not The Cause Of All Of Our Problems’
In a speech to New Hampshire supporters, businessman Andrew Yang formally announced his withdrawal from the presidential race.
“I am not someone who wants to accept donations and support in a race that we will not win,” Yang said, “and so tonight I am announcing I am suspending my campaign for president.”
Yang also said he plans to support whichever Democratic candidate becomes the nominee — while also offering “a word of caution and guidance” to the larger Democratic field.
“Donald Trump is not the cause of all of our problems. He is a symptom of a disease that has been building up in our communities for years,” Yang said. “We must cure the disease that got him elected, and in order to do that, we must address the real problems that affect our people and offer solutions to actually solve them.”
Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet Drops Out
Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet has ended his presidential campaign after a disappointing finish in the New Hampshire primary, a state that he had staked his long-shot bid on.
"I will support the nominee of my party no matter who it is to make sure that we defeat Donald Trump," Bennet told his supporters in New Hampshire.
He also stressed the importance of making sure Democrats flip the Senate in 2020 and said he would campaign across the country to help ensure that happens. Democrats need to flip three seats if they win the White House, and four if they don’t. Republicans are defending almost twice the number of Senate seats that Democrats are.↑ Back to top
Sanders Has An Early Lead
With 12% of precincts reporting, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders has an early lead in New Hampshire’s Democratic primary. Sanders has about 29% of the vote so far.
We do not yet have a projected winner.
Behind Sanders, former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar are running close together.
Significantly further behind is Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, followed by former Vice President Joe Biden.↑ Back to top
Klobuchar Announces Big Ad Buy For Nevada Democratic Contest
Shortly before the polls closed in New Hampshire, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., announced she was launching a “seven-figure ad buy” in two markets for the Democratic contest in Nevada.
Klobuchar, who saw a rise in the polls following a strong performance in the final debate ahead of Tuesday’s primary, said she raised more than $2.5 million after that debate. The surge followed a fifth-place finish in the Iowa caucuses last week.
Her two broadcast and digital ads scheduled to run in Las Vegas and Reno tout Klobuchar’s priorities for her first 100 days in office — including lowering prescription drug costs, addressing climate change and boosting job creation. She also takes a swipe at President Trump’s character in one of the spots, saying, “I’ll be a president and a commander in chief who restores decency to the White House and gets things done for you.”↑ Back to top
Andrew Yang Suspends His Campaign
Andrew Yang, a tech entrepreneur who built his campaign around a signature policy proposal — universal basic income — is ending his bid for the presidency, NPR has learned.
Over the campaign, Yang rose from relative obscurity and built a loyal following of supporters, known as the "Yang Gang."
As a candidate, Yang drilled down on the dangers of automation to the U.S. economy, making appeals to workers who have lost jobs or felt left behind amid the rise of new technologies. Central to his policy platform, Yang pitched a universal basic income for all adults — a $1,000-a-month stipend he called the "freedom dividend" — as a key solution for many of the country’s most pressing problems.↑ Back to top
All Polls Now Closed In New Hampshire
All polls across the Granite State should now be closed. Most precinct places finished up an hour ago, but because individual towns run their own elections in New Hampshire, a handful had polling hours that extended until 8 p.m. ET. Early results show Sen. Bernie Sanders in the lead with less than 10% of precincts reporting at this point.↑ Back to top
President Trump Wins New Hampshire GOP Primary
President Trump has easily won the New Hampshire Republican primary, the Associated Press projects.
The president faced only nominal opposition in the race, with just former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld as a well-known challenger.
But Trump is sure to tout the victory. Four years ago, amid a much more contested field, Trump posted his first major victory of the race, winning 35% of the vote and more than doubling his nearest competitor, then-Ohio Gov. John Kasich.↑ Back to top
How Much Did The Candidates Visit New Hampshire?
As of late Tuesday afternoon, a total of 853 presidential campaign events have been held in New Hampshire, nearly 300 fewer than the number held in Iowa before the caucuses there last week.
That said, for the most part, the number of events each candidate held in the Granite State doesn’t correspond with their standing in the state’s polls.
The most events were held by businessman Andrew Yang (133) and Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (130), but they have gained little traction in the polls.
On the other hand, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren have stronger name recognition in the region but have not visited the state in as high numbers. Sanders tops the New Hampshire polls while Warren has fluctuated throughout the campaign, at times leading but currently tied for third place with several candidates.
Former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar — two Midwestern candidates who don’t hold the same name recognition in the area but have a chance at doing well tonight — have the most visits in the Granite State after Yang and Gabbard.
Unlike the majority of the candidates, former Vice President Joe Biden has spent significantly less time and money in New Hampshire — and it’s not working out well for him.
After a lower-than-expected Iowa finish and dropping poll numbers in the Granite State, the Biden campaign announced earlier Tuesday that it would be heading to South Carolina before the results of the New Hampshire primary are finalized.
Biden held a total of 46 events in New Hampshire, compared with his 117 events in Iowa, and with over a week until the South Carolina primary, where he has a significant polling lead, Biden has held 24 events in the state.↑ Back to top
Half Made Up Their Minds In Last Few Days
About half of Democratic primary voters in New Hampshire said they made up their minds just in the last few days, according to early exit polls.
A whopping 48% said they made up their minds either in the last few days (36%) or today (12%), according to exit polls released by CNN. Combine that with the third who said the last debate was the most important factor in their consideration of whom to vote for, and that could be a good thing for Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar. (Another 12% said it was one of several important factors.)
New Hampshire Public Radio’s Sarah Gibson interviewed one voter, still undecided, who is hoping for “divine intervention” as she walks into the booth:
There were a couple of numbers that don’t bode well for Bernie Sanders or his electability argument, even if he wins tonight. Just 12% said they were first-time voters, and just 11% were voters under 30. That’s a big drop from 2016, when 19% were 18 to 29.
Sanders has made the case for his electability by saying he can turn out new voters. But in Iowa, turnout was lackluster, and the percentage of first-time caucusgoers went down, although the percentage of voters under 30 went up and they overwhelmingly caucused for Sanders.
In New Hampshire, there were also splits that reflect the divide between the progressives and moderates within the Democratic Party. There was a 36%-to-35% split between those who want a candidate who can unite the country and those who want someone who can bring needed change to the country. And there was a 40%-to-38% split between those wanting a return to Barack Obama’s policies and those wanting something new.
Other numbers that stood out, from exit polls released by CNN and MSNBC:
- 93% white
- 55% women
- 55% with a college degree
- 45% independents
- 7% lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender
- 3% black
- 2% Hispanic
Similar to polls of Democrats, health care was named as the most important issue (37%), followed by climate change (28%), income inequality (19%) and foreign policy (11%).
New Hampshire Officials Emphasize State’s Paper Ballots After Iowa Caucus Debacle
Leading up to last week’s Iowa caucuses, there were warning signs that things might not go as smoothly as Democrats in the state were promising. In particular, precinct leaders were expected to use an untested smartphone app to tabulate and report results and had less than a month to get familiar with it.
Today’s primary in New Hampshire features none of those potential issues.
“The folks that are running New Hampshire’s primary elections are election officials who have done this many times before,” said David Levine, the elections integrity fellow at the Alliance for Securing Democracy. “And they are using election technology that they’ve used many times before.”
Whereas the Iowa caucuses were run by the state party, the New Hampshire primary is overseen by the secretary of state’s office and run at the local level by town clerks, who in most cases have been administering elections for years.
The state has long projected confidence in its election systems, specifically because all votes in the state are cast on paper ballots.
"You want to know about being hacked? You see this pencil here?" Secretary of State Bill Gardner said ahead of the 2018 midterms, holding up a pencil for emphasis. "Want me to give it to you and see if you can hack this pencil? We have this pencil. This is how people vote in this state. And you can’t hack this pencil."
There are, however, a few vulnerabilities still present, as reported here by New Hampshire Public Radio’s Casey McDermott. Most notably, the state does not mandate post-election audits, which are widely considered a best practice for verifying results.
But on the whole, experts expect tonight to go more smoothly than Monday of last week.
Knock on wood.↑ Back to top
What’s Next For Warren?
Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s campaign manager, Roger Lau, emailed a memo to supporters ahead of the polls closing in New Hampshire to give an update on “what’s next” for the campaign.
He emphasizes that the campaign is poised to organize and get out the vote in all 57 states and territories, a point Warren herself has stressed on the trail when asked about her viability long term. He writes that the campaign is confident in its strategy to compete throughout the country, not “just in pockets that reflect one segment of our party or another.”
Lau cautions against anyone making predictions at this stage, calling the race a “fractured” one. “People who are predicting what will happen a week from now are the same people who a year ago predicted that Beto O’Rourke was a frontrunner for the nomination,” he writes. “As we’ve seen in the last week, debates and unexpected results have an outsize impact on the race, and will likely keep it volatile and unpredictable through Super Tuesday.”
Notably, while Warren has not made negative comments about her opponents, this memo lists what it sees as the deficits of each of her opponents.
- Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders: The memo says Sanders “starts with a ceiling that’s significantly lower than the support he had four years ago.”
- Former Vice President Joe Biden: The memo addresses that while he entered the race as a clear front-runner, he now polls under 30%, “even among older voters and African-American voters, who have been his strongest supports, and his support among younger voters has fallen.”
- Former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg: Lau writes that Buttigieg’s most significant challenge is yet to come “as the contest moves into states with more diverse electorates, and he still hasn’t answered tough questions about his record in South Bend.”
- Former Mayor Mike Bloomberg: Lau says that while Bloomberg’s campaign has poured hundreds of millions of dollars into March states, he believes it will fall short on Super Tuesday. “And keep in mind that Bloomberg will soon be forced to actually debate his record, rather than hiding behind millions in TV ads.”
- Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar: Lau concedes that Klobuchar is getting a “well-deserved look from voters for the first time” but says her campaign “hasn’t been able to build out infrastructure for the long haul, and is playing catch up on a very short timeline.”
Lau predicts that Warren will finish in the top two in over half of the Super Tuesday states and says internal campaign figures show only three candidates at or above the 15% threshold in more than half of the districts: Warren, Biden and Sanders. “In that three-way race, Elizabeth Warren is the candidate with the highest potential ceiling of support and the one best positioned to unite the party and lead the Democratic ticket to defeat Donald Trump.”
The memo also reminds supporters that the Warren campaign “has always been 100% grassroots-funded, and that’s never going to change.” It then asks for a donation.↑ Back to top
Watch Independents And Liberals In N.H., As They Consider ‘Electability’
The last time Democrats had an open primary in New Hampshire with an incumbent Republican president up for reelection was in 2004. Back then, Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry swept both Iowa and New Hampshire and won the nomination.
That year, there were plenty of late-deciding voters — many thinking about “electability” — who broke for Kerry, according to the exit polls. More than half of New Hampshire Democratic primary voters said they decided in the last week, and Kerry won the lion’s share of them, 40%, to former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean’s 21%.
And even though voters by a nearly 2-to-1 margin said the issues were more important to them than picking someone who could beat then-President George W. Bush, of those who said beating Bush was most important, Kerry won almost 6 in 10 of them. (Kerry tied with Dean among those who said the issues were more important.)
What’s more, in New Hampshire, about 40% of registered voters are independents. Which way they go can sway the primary. That’s because New Hampshire primaries are semi-open (or semi-closed), meaning undeclared voters can participate in either primary (they have to pick one). In a year when only one party is holding a competitive primary, more independents might be expected to vote in the competitive one.
Case in point: In 2004, the number of independents participating in the New Hampshire Democratic primary was very high — almost half, 48%. Kerry won more of them than anyone else, 37% to Dean’s 23%.
Independents, though, don’t always mean moderates. In 2016, for example, Bernie Sanders won three-quarters of independents. (He also won moderates, too, by a slightly lower 59%. That’s what happens when a candidate wins a state by 20 points.)
The other number to watch: liberals. There’s a clear trend from the exit poll data: Since 2004, the number of self-described liberals participating has ballooned, from 46% in 2004, to 56% in 2008, to a whopping 68% in 2016. That obviously helped Sanders. The question is: Was that a sign of the candidates on the ballot (Barack Obama and Sanders, who drew out more progressives) or is it a trend in the party?
Primaries always draw more activist voters, but the party has clearly grown more liberal since 2004. The Pew Research Center, for example, found that in 2003, just 29% of Democrats identified as “liberal.” By 2019, it was 46%.
For Some In N.H., The Decision Is Made In The Voting Booth
Stephanie Huot was still undecided when she got her ballot.
“I was between two candidates,” she said, “and I had to kinda stand there in the voting booth for a minute, but I made my decision.”
She’d been weighing former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who have been competing for moderate voters. In the end, she voted for Buttigieg.
“It just came down to who I thought could take on [President] Trump,” she said outside her polling place at Parker-Varney School in Manchester. “And I think he has a good chance at it. It’s only been in the last month or so I’ve heard about Amy, and I’ve heard about Buttigieg for months and months, so I think he probably has a better campaign.”
David McCormick was also undecided until he got to the polling place.
“I was really struggling,” McCormick said. “It was a last-second decision.”
He said although he really liked Buttigieg, he worried about Buttigieg’s electability. When it came down to it, he ended up voting for billionaire activist Tom Steyer.
“[It] felt super-risky and like, why am I even doing this?” McCormick said. “He’s at the bottom of New Hampshire polling, but I do think, when I imagine a Democrat head-to-head with Donald Trump, he’s the only one who can hold his own.”
His oldest daughter, Amarra, 19, also voted for Steyer after worrying about a repeat of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ loss in the 2016 Democratic primary.
McCormick has been bringing his kids with him to vote in the primaries for years. “It’s our civic responsibility to vote in elections. You don’t want other people making decisions for you,” he said. “If you give away that right, you may not get it back. You should hold on to it and treat it with respect.”
And while most of the focus has been on the Democratic ballot, with Trump’s victory all but certain, retirees Ray and Sally Boucher still came out to cast their votes for him.
For Sally Boucher, “more conservative judges” is her most important issue.
“And to allow us to control our own lives,” Ray Boucher said. “That’s how I see it.”
Meanwhile, Debbie Simard had decided early on that she’d be backing former Vice President Joe Biden. “I’m looking for someone to get us back to where we used to be,” she explained. “I don’t like the divisiveness … and [Biden] can reach across the aisle and the world leaders know him and feel safe with him.”↑ Back to top
Buttigieg Appeals To N.H. Voters Seeking ‘A Change’
Pete Buttigieg kicked off primary day with stops at polling places in Manchester, Hopkinton and Nashua.
The former mayor of South Bend, Ind., was asked by a reporter whether he thought he’d win New Hampshire tonight. “We think so,” Buttigieg said. “It feels fantastic.”
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders — the only Democratic rival whom Buttigieg has been criticizing by name over the last few days — has been leading most recent polls in New Hampshire. Sanders and Buttigieg finished in a virtual tie for first in Iowa last week.
“In a moment where our country is so divided, we can’t risk further polarizing the American people. That’s why I’m very concerned about the suggestion that either you got to be for a revolution or you must be for the status quo,” Buttigieg said at an event last night, in a subtle dig at Sanders and former Vice President Joe Biden. “Because that’s a vision of politics, an all-or-nothing vision, that most of us can’t see where we fit in. I’m here to build a political program that all of us can see where we fit.”
Buttigieg says he’s the candidate who can bring in the broadest swath of voters — not just fellow Democrats but also independents and Republicans — who he says may be alienated by Sanders’ policy agenda or Biden’s appeals to a politics of the past.
Kim Lavine attended the rally with two friends. She had been trying to decide between Sanders, whom she supported in 2016, and Buttigieg.
“I’ve been with Bernie, but this is a new fresh face,” she said. “And he’s honest, composed, hopeful.”
She said it has been a tough choice, and she has thought about how much she should factor in who may be the best candidate to defeat President Trump.
This morning, Lavine texted to say that she and her two friends all decided to vote for Buttigieg.
On the other side of the room, Scott and Alison Cummings were weighing Buttigieg and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar. Scott Cummings said Biden used to be on their list, but after watching Biden in the debates, he worried about Biden’s ability to go toe-to-toe with Trump.
“New faces are very important in Washington,” Alison Cummings said. “Biden’s been there for a long time. He knows the ins and outs, but I think it’s time for a change.”
“I want to pick someone who’s likely to win the popular vote, not just the primary, so looking ahead to November, who stands the best chance?” Scott Cummings said. “So we’re trying to figure that out. We saw Amy yesterday. Really impressed. And from what I’ve seen of this gentleman, we’ll probably be equally impressed.”
This morning, Alison Cummings texted to say that she and her husband split their votes: She voted for Klobuchar, and her husband voted for Buttigieg.↑ Back to top
Biden Leaving New Hampshire Early, Heading To South Carolina
Former Vice President Joe Biden has announced that he is skipping his election night party in New Hampshire so he can travel to South Carolina, where Biden is looking for a rebound in the state’s primary later this month.
The surprise announcement comes as polls in New Hampshire show Biden, who has strength in national surveys, trailing Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg. Some late polls also show Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren potentially surpassing Biden in today’s contest.
Biden placed fourth in Iowa last week, a result he characterized as a “gut punch.”
Rather than watching returns come in from New Hampshire in person later this evening, Biden’s campaign says he will address supporters via livestream. Biden is planning a campaign launch party at 9 p.m. ET in Columbia, S.C.
“I have enjoyed traveling across New Hampshire, speaking to countless Granite Staters who understand we are in a battle for the soul of this nation and I have relished fighting for each and every one of their votes,” Biden said in a statement.
“I am looking forward to traveling to South Carolina this evening and Nevada later this week to carry our campaign forward and hear from the diverse voters whose voices must be heard in this process to select the Democratic nominee who will unite this country to defeat Donald Trump,” Biden added.
South Carolina’s primary is the first among Southern states and is seen as an important test of each candidate’s support among African American voters, who make up nearly two-thirds of the state’s Democratic primary electorate.↑ Back to top
Polls On His Side, Sanders Campaign Feeling Confident
As New Hampshire voters cast ballots in the country’s first presidential primary today, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg are the top two candidates in the state. The two candidates were in a virtual tie in the Iowa caucuses.
The results are a boost for Sanders, who also leads among Democrats nationally in a new Quinnipiac University poll conducted after the Iowa caucuses.
In an interview with NPR, Faiz Shakir, who manages the Sanders campaign, said he is confident the Vermont senator’s message of taking on corporate interests and pushing for “Medicare for All” will appeal to voters in New Hampshire.
Although overall turnout was flat during the Iowa caucuses, Shakir pointed to an uptick in voters under 30, even compared with 2008, which saw an overall record turnout in the state. That’s proof, Shakir says, that Sanders is generating enthusiasm among younger voters. But whether that excitement for Sanders will move older voters is an open question.
“What I would say is it’s the job of all the candidates to generate that enthusiasm,” Shakir said.
Many voters in New Hampshire say they are not dead set on any one candidate, raising the possibility again of a muddled contest finish among the crowded slate of Democratic hopefuls.
In 2016, Sanders sailed to victory with a 21-point victory over Hillary Clinton, the eventual nominee, in New Hampshire, the kind of landslide not anticipated during this year’s Democratic primary.
Looking beyond New Hampshire, Shakir said Sanders, an independent, is ready to support the eventual Democratic nominee in order to bring the party together.
“Taking on Donald Trump unifies the Democratic Party,” Shakir said. “We welcome all of our friends within the party to raise what messaging, what research needs to be done to execute an argument that I’m not sure any of us have quite fully landed on about what is most effective with people out there to convert them and persuade them into the Democratic ranks and pull them off of Donald Trump.”↑ Back to top
Are Democrats Fired Up And Ready To Go?
Turnout in the Iowa caucuses was lackluster. About 172,000 showed up to caucus, approximately the same level as 2016. Campaigns had hoped the figure would be closer to the highs of 2008. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders had been promising that turnout would break the 2008 record, helping him over the finish line.
Well, that turned out not to be the case, and it raises questions about how wide Sanders’ support is within the Democratic Party. But he and Democrats have another chance in New Hampshire to show the party’s base is enthusiastic to go to the polls in a year it faces President Trump.
New Hampshire has a population of about 1.4 million people, and more than 70% are registered to vote. The state is known to have high levels of voter turnout and had the second-highest voter turnout in the country (behind Minnesota) during the general election in 2016.
The record, unsurprisingly, was in 2008 when about 288,000 showed up to vote. The second-highest level was 2016 at about 250,000.
Past primary turnout
- 2016: 249,587
- 2012: n/a
- 2008: 287,556
- 2004: 219,787
- 2000: 154,639
- 1996: n/a
- 1992: 167,664
*n/a is indicated because 2012 and 1996 were uncontested primaries with Barack Obama and Bill Clinton up for reelection.↑ Back to top
What’s At Stake In Today’s Primary?
Just 24 delegates are up for grabs in New Hampshire today, with a candidate needing 1,991 to clinch the Democratic nomination. There’s a lot more on the line today than that prize.
Here are some things in particular to look for:
Can Sanders expand his base? Sanders did well in urban areas and college towns. He needs to show he can reach beyond that. The Democratic Party doesn’t need help winning in those places. Still, a win would be a win, and Sanders would be in the pole position for the nomination if he does, especially considering that moderates and establishment Democrats don’t appear to be coalescing around anyone any time soon.
For Buttigieg, New Hampshire is nice, but…: Again, New Hampshire is a very white state, and Buttigieg has struggled in polling with voters of color. He needs to perform well in New Hampshire, but then the real test comes when the race moves to Nevada and South Carolina, two states with much more diverse electorates.
Who finishes third? This might be the biggest and most important question of the night. Biden is fading fast. He’s been hoping that South Carolina and his support with African American voters would be his firewall, but South Carolina is weeks away, and there may be evidence he’s already declining with African Americans. Meanwhile, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who finished third in Iowa, needs to be able show she can beat Sanders and Buttigieg, the two candidates most eating into her support. She polls second with progressives to Sanders and second with college-educated whites to Buttigieg.
How far can Klobuchar go? She’s seen a sharp spike since coming close to Biden in Iowa and after her strong debate performance in New Hampshire Friday. She’s actually now polling third, slightly ahead of Warren and Biden. If she were to take third, wow. But is it too little, too late? She needs the donations to pour in if she’s going to have a shot, and that starts with a surprising finish in New Hampshire — ahead of some of the field’s heavyweights.
How long do lower-performing candidates continue on? Wealthy venture capitalist Tom Steyer has the personal resources to go as long as he wants, but he’s seen little payoff in the results. He’s making a serious push in South Carolina, but no polling so far indicates he can win the state. That effort might wind up wounding Biden more than any other candidate, as he’s making inroads with black leaders and voters.
Andrew Yang has a deep well of support, but it’s not very wide. He wound up with fewer than 2,000 votes in Iowa out of 170,000. Yang is a serious person with a serious message, but if he finishes in single digits again in New Hampshire, he and his supporters have to ask themselves why he’s running — is it to make a point or is it to win? And if it’s to make a point, for how long and will his supporters wholeheartedly get behind whoever winds up becoming the Democratic nominee?↑ Back to top
Why New Hampshire Is First And How It’s Held On
Like Iowa, New Hampshire is an overwhelmingly white state. In 2016, its Democratic primary was 93% white.
So why is New Hampshire first, and how has it stayed that way?
New Hampshire became the first primary in 1920 when Minnesota dropped its primary and Indiana moved to May. After the chaos of the 1968 Democratic National Convention, New Hampshire politicians put forward legislation that required their primary to be first, enacting a law a few years later. Here’s what the law says:
“The presidential primary election shall be held on the second Tuesday in March or on a date selected by the secretary of state which is 7 days or more immediately preceding the date on which any other state shall hold a similar election. … The purpose of this section is to protect the tradition of the New Hampshire first-in-the-nation presidential primary.”
Notice that law gives the full power to the secretary of state to set the date of the primary. And that secretary of state has been the guard dog of the first-in-the-nation primary status for the last 40-plus years — Bill Gardner.
In office since 1976, Gardner is the longest-serving secretary of state in the country. In the 1980s, Iowa and New Hampshire struck a deal allowing Iowa to hold the first caucuses and New Hampshire the first primary.
Over the years, Gardner has blocked efforts by both parties to change the order of the primaries. He publicly opposed a DNC-led movement to change it in 2006 and maintained the same view in 2015 when then-Republican Party Chairman Reince Priebus alluded to shaking things up after the 2016 election.
But Gardner may be losing power. In addition to now being 71, his reign was threatened in 2018 after taking part in President Trump’s now-defunct election integrity commission. He survived re-election by just four votes of state legislators.↑ Back to top
The First Results Are In Without Delay
In a political year when primary traditions are under scrutiny, the most quaint of them all was carried out early this morning.
Shortly after midnight, three towns in northern New Hampshire — with a collective population of under 100 — voted in the Democratic and Republican primaries.
The votes were counted without any complications, nor much technology. Here are the results:
- Bloomberg: 2 (write-in)
- Buttigieg: 1
- Sanders: 1
- Bloomberg: 1 (write-in)
- Klobuchar: 6
- Warren: 4
- Yang: 3
- Sanders: 2
- Biden: 1
- Gabbard: 1
- Steyer: 1
- Trump: 15
- Weld: 4
- Maxwell: 1
- Klobuchar: 2
- Biden: 1
- Buttigieg: 1
- Sanders: 1
- Trump: 16
- Weld: 1
Stay tuned. These numbers are hardly determinative, with turnout expected to easily top 200,000 in the Democratic contest. Polls in the rest of the state will close between 7 and 8 p.m. ET, and you can follow all of the latest results right here.↑ Back to top
Trump Trolls Democrats Ahead Of Primary: ‘They Can’t Even Count Their Votes’
Hours before the New Hampshire primary begins with a round of midnight votes, President Trump touched down in Manchester for a rally designed to take attention away from Democrats and fly the GOP flag in one of the most closely divided states in the country.
“The first step to victory is tomorrow and go send a message for Republicans,” Trump said before a packed arena. Trump lost New Hampshire to Hillary Clinton in 2016 by about 2,700 votes and his campaign is investing heavily in the state to try and flip it in 2020.
Monday’s rally is the second pre-election rally for Trump, who also went to Des Moines days before the Iowa caucuses. Taking a dig at the chaotic outcome of that contest, Trump said of Democrats, “They don’t know what they’re doing, they can’t even count their votes.”
Trump has regularly tried to exploit divisions among Democrats. He took another stab at it Monday, claiming without evidence that the Iowa chaos was part of an effort by Democrats to deny Bernie Sanders a victory. “I think they’re trying to take it away from Bernie again.”
Independent voters are allowed to cast ballots in New Hampshire’s presidential primary and Trump jokingly suggested to his supporters that they vote for the weakest Democrat on Tuesday.
“Who is their weakest candidate? I think they’re all weak,” said Trump. “They’re all fighting each other.”
Trump exulted in the recent Senate vote to acquit him after being impeached by the House. He also brought up last week’s State of the Union address, saying of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that "I had somebody behind me mumbling terribly. It was very distracting." Unprompted, the crowd started chanting "lock her up."↑ Back to top
Sanders’ Argument To Beat Trump? Turnout
As rival candidates and some Democratic leaders have amped up their concerns that nominating Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders would keep President Trump in the White House, and maybe even put Democrats’ House majority in play, Sanders is returning to a familiar rebuttal.
“So the question arises, what is the best way to beat Trump? And I believe that the best way to beat him is to have the largest voter turnout in American history,” Sanders told a packed coffeehouse in Salem, N.H., Monday. “And the way you do that is by running a campaign of energy and excitement that brings people who don’t always vote into the political process.”
The key, Sanders said, is to target and win over people who look at politics and ask themselves, “why should I participate in an election when the political leaders in the country are ignoring me?”
The argument is easy to see in a setting like Monday night’s closing Sanders event in Durham: a college hockey arena packed with thousands of excited, young supporters, there to see a megarally highlighted by New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the rock group The Strokes.
But Sanders and his campaign had predicted record turnout in the Iowa caucuses – maybe as many as 250,000 voters. And in the end, participation was only slightly higher than 2016. “The turnout was not as high as I wanted it to be,” Sanders conceded, though his campaign is pointing to surveys showing a spike in young caucus-goers.
It’s not just the Sanders campaign waiting to see whether New Hampshire turnout stays flat or goes up. As Peter Hamby notes in Vanity Fair, turnout over the course of a primary season is a solid indicator of how energized – or not energized – the party base is. If the numbers remain relatively flat through the remaining early primary and caucus states, Democrats will raise serious alarms about whether the party’s anti-Trump energy is fading at the worst possible time.↑ Back to top
Warren Touts Policies Picked Up From Past Candidates
At campaign events across New Hampshire in the days ahead of tomorrow’s primary, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren has emphasized she’s open to incorporating the ideas of candidates who have dropped out of the race into her own campaign.
“The whole idea here is we’re not looking [to elbow] each other out,” she said today at a town hall in Rochester.
It’s part of her goal of being the “unity candidate” and reaching out to undecided voters in a state whose primary is “semi-open,” meaning unenrolled voters can vote in either the Democratic or Republican primaries.
She told a crowd of approximately 225 that if they looked up her climate plan, they’d find that “whole sections” came from ideas from former candidate and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee.
She also referenced California Sen. Kamala Harris. “Kamala’s voice was strong and should be a part of our primary process,” Warren said. “But I’ve known Kamala for a long time. When Kamala was no longer in the race, I called her and said, ‘What I’d really like to do is pick up your terrific idea on how we protect women’s reproductive health. … How would you feel if I just added them into my set of plans? I’ll give you full credit because I’m happy to do that.’ And Kamala said, ‘Great, let’s do it.’ “
She also mentioned incorporating the ideas of former HUD Secretary Julián Castro on immigration — Castro has endorsed her and become a high-profile surrogate — and New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s proposals on paid family leave.↑ Back to top
Half Of All New Hampshire Ad Spending Has Come From Steyer
What’s remarkable is that half of all ad spending in New Hampshire has come from Tom Steyer, a billionaire venture capitalist. Steyer, though, hasn’t seen much bang for his buck — he’s only polling around 2% in the average of the state’s polls.
Some other takeaways from the data:
- VoteVets, a left-of-center military veterans group and super PAC, brings former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg basically even with Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders in spending.
- Entrepreneur Andrew Yang and former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick (via a super PAC) have been major players on air.
- Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar has spent roughly five times as much as former Vice President Joe Biden. Even with the Unite the Country super PAC helping Biden, Klobuchar has spent 50% more than Biden and allies.
Here are the full numbers:
- Steyer $19.2 million
- Sanders $5.3 million
- Buttigieg $3.7 million
- Yang $3.4 million
- Reason to Believe PAC (pro-Patrick): $1.8 million
- Vote Vets (pro-Buttigieg): $1.5 million
- Klobuchar $1.5 million
- Warren $1.5 million
- Gabbard $1 million
- Unite the Country (pro-Biden) $722,000
- Biden $306,000
- Patrick $107,000
- Bennet $53,000
All of these numbers, however, pale in comparison to what former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is spending in other states that vote on Super Tuesday and later. Bloomberg, who is worth tens of billions of dollars, has now spent more than $350 million on ads since his late-November campaign launch, according to CNN.↑ Back to top
Sanders, Buttigieg Seek Partial Recanvass Of Iowa Results
A day before the New Hampshire primary, the fight over Iowa’s results goes on.
Today was the deadline for campaigns to file requests for recanvassing in Iowa following its troubled contest last week, and the campaigns of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg — who are locked in a virtual tie — did indeed file such requests. According to the Iowa Democratic Party, the two requests cover 85 total precincts.
The Sanders campaign believes that the recanvassing would correct errors that “would result in Sanders picking up one national delegate.”
“Our volunteers and supporters worked too hard, and too many people participated for the first time to have the results depend on calculations that even the party admits are incorrect,” senior adviser Jeff Weaver said in a statement. “Once the recanvass and a subsequent recount are completed in these precincts, we feel confident we will be awarded the extra national delegate our volunteers and grassroots donors earned.”
Last night, the Iowa Democratic Party released updated results for a small percentage of precincts, and its projected allocations for its 41 national delegates: 14 for Buttigieg, 12 for Sanders, eight for Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, six for former Vice President Joe Biden and one for Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar.
However, The Associated Press — which NPR and other news outlets use for election returns and calls — said the Iowa results still “may not be fully accurate” and the organization “remains unable to declare a winner based on the available information.”↑ Back to top
Will New Hampshire Reset Or Reinforce The Primary Race?
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg essentially tied in Iowa. And now New Hampshire voters have the chance to reinforce that result or reset the Democratic primary race.
Over the last several decades, when New Hampshire has reinforced the Iowa winner, that person has gone on to be the Democratic nominee every time — John Kerry in 2004, Al Gore in 2000 and Jimmy Carter in both 1980 and 1976.
But slightly more often, New Hampshire — perhaps reflecting the personality of its people — has been contrarian, resetting the Democratic primary in a way that portends a long, drawn-out race. Here’s a look back:
- 2016 between Hillary Clinton and Sanders;
- 2008 with Clinton and Barack Obama. Obama had led by 8 points in the polls in New Hampshire after his big Iowa win, but Clinton surprised and pulled out the victory, ensuring a long race;
- 1992 when Bill Clinton declared himself the “Comeback Kid” after finishing second in New Hampshire and then went on to win the nomination ahead of former California Gov. Jerry Brown; former Massachusetts Sen. Paul Tsongas, who won New Hampshire; then-Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin, who won Iowa; and then-Sen. Bob Kerrey of Nebraska;
- 1988 when Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis, who won New Hampshire, went the distance over civil rights activist Jesse Jackson; then-Tennessee Sen. Al Gore; Missouri Rep. Dick Gephardt, the Iowa winner; and Illinois Sen. Paul Simon; and
- 1984 when former Vice President Walter Mondale, the establishment choice, faced Colorado Sen. Gary Hart and his “new ideas,” among other candidates. Mondale won Iowa easily but Hart took New Hampshire by 10 points, as he became the “not Mondale” candidate. Mondale eventually won the nomination by a narrow margin, helped by a poorly timed Hart joke about New Jersey and having to hold “samples from a toxic waste site.”
Of course, this year has its wild cards, including no clear Iowa winner; Buttigieg having his deficiencies with voters of color, who will dominate later in the process; Sanders being opposed by a good faction of the Democratic establishment that doesn’t think he can win; and, of course, former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg.
Bloomberg isn’t competing in any of the first four states, because he got into the primary too late. But he’s spent more than $350 million now on ads focused on Super Tuesday states and beyond, and Joe Biden’s poor Iowa showing has some moderates and mainstream Democrats talking seriously about Bloomberg’s candidacy.
Historical patterns, after all, are only good until they’re not.↑ Back to top
Sanders Reflects Back On His 2016 N.H. Win
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders doesn’t do introspection or personal narrative that often. It’s issues, issues, issues, political revolution, then back to issues at his rallies and town halls.
So it was notable that at nearly every stop in New Hampshire this past weekend, Sanders would reflect back on the 2016 New Hampshire primary, where he trounced former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton by more than 20 points.
“The reason that we’re here today has a lot to do with New Hampshire four years ago,” Sanders told campaign volunteers in Dover Saturday. He argued that many Democrats and observers had been dismissing his agenda — single-payer health care, free public college, a $15 minimum wage — as “too wild, too radical, too extreme.”
“The people of New Hampshire said, ‘You know what, these are not radical, extreme ideas. These are the ideas that we want.’ ”
He sees the 2016 primary win as a key moment of validation, that, while not delivering him the Democratic nomination, began the process of large sections of the party ultimately warming to his views.
But here’s the slight problem for the Sanders campaign: The early contests are more about momentum and “narrative” than delegates — which candidate is surging, which candidate is struggling? And in a much more crowded race, no one expects Sanders (or any other candidate, for that matter) to finish with such a declarative win.
So while Sanders keeps reminding voters of how he ran the table in the Granite State in 2016, his top advisers are trying to say, essentially, “yes, but….”
“It’s a very different situation,” said campaign manager Faiz Shakir. “It helps that we have some benchmarks to work off of, from our campaign, to know how many people could potentially support this campaign, how many we could bring back to this campaign. But the fact that there’s eight, 10 other candidates out there who are working very hard for the vote, splitting up the vote. It’s a very different race.”
Added senior adviser Jeff Weaver: “We’re looking for a good win here, but I don’t think it’s going to be anywhere near the magnitude of what you saw in 2016. It’s just impossible.”
Not that the campaign would complain if it did somehow happen.↑ Back to top
Taking Attacks From Rivals, Buttigieg Responds With Subtle Swipes
Facing attacks from fellow Democrats, Pete Buttigieg kept up a grueling campaign schedule this weekend, packing gyms and auditoriums with crowds that often topped a thousand people.
The former South Bend, Ind., mayor is trying to capitalize on the momentum of a strong showing in Iowa, where he’s still locked in a virtual tie for first place with Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. That’s made Buttigieg a target, especially for former Vice President Joe Biden, who finished a disappointing fourth in Iowa and is competing for the same moderate voters Buttigieg is courting.
With attacks escalating, Buttigieg added some subtle swipes to his stump speech this weekend.
“I don’t think we can take the risk of excluding anybody from this effort, of saying that if you’re not either for a revolution or a status quo, then you don’t fit,” Buttigieg told the crowd in a high school gym in Lebanon, N.H., nodding at Sanders and Biden. “I think we’re going to defeat this president by inviting everybody to be at our side.”
While Buttigieg has mostly avoided calling out his rivals directly, by Sunday, he was knocking Sanders by name. But apart from a few lines, Buttigieg has kept his message on an argument for generational change, as well as brandishing his Rust Belt credentials and ability to pick off Republican and independent voters there.
That’s a draw for voters like Steven DePietro, who had staked out a spot in the back of the Elm Street Middle School gym with his wife, Stephanie, for a Buttigieg rally in Nashua on Sunday. But he’s still trying to decide between two very different candidates, Buttigieg and Sanders.
“I want to see who’s going to be the strongest candidate to beat [President] Trump,” he said. “That’s my biggest issue right now because I want Trump out of the White House. Once he’s out, it’s all gravy after that.”
Thomas Filip, a dentist in Keene, threw his support behind Buttigieg early on. He’s seen him four times now, and on Saturday brought his wife along to see him again at Keene State College. She’s still deciding between Buttigieg and Sen. Elizabeth Warren.
“I think if we’re going to win in November, we need to nominate someone that we’re really passionate about, not someone who we think other people will want to vote for,” Filip said, with his 3-year-old son perched on his shoulders and waving a Pete sign.
Buttigieg wraps up his final full day of the New Hampshire campaign today with rallies in Milford and Exeter.↑ Back to top
After Investigations, Midnight Voting Tradition To Continue In Dixville Notch
For anyone watching the New Hampshire primary on television, the midnight vote in Dixville Notch is one of the primary’s most familiar traditions. The citizens of the tiny town close to the Canadian border cast some of the first ballots in the first-in-the-nation presidential primary.
But as New Hampshire Public Radio’s Stranglehold podcast explained, the midnight vote was always a media-driven event that started more than 50 years ago as a way to give the press something to report early on Election Day.
Long held up to the rest of the world as a symbol of democracy at its purest, Dixville Notch’s practices have actually come under lots of scrutiny from state election investigators since 2016. A state investigation found that some of the town’s voters didn’t actually live there. Ironically, it was all the media coverage of the vote that clued in state officials to the irregularities.
Once the ineligible voters were removed from the rolls, it wasn’t clear that Dixville would have enough people to legally hold its own election again in 2020. The main business in town, the Balsams Resort, closed down about a decade ago — and took most of Dixville’s voters with it.
But the midnight vote’s fortunes changed when Les Otten, a developer who’s trying to bring the resort back to life, declared he would move back and make the town his residence for voting purposes, giving the town enough voters so the tradition could continue.
“Midnight voting in Dixville is to New Hampshire like snow is to winter,” said Otten, who says his main goal is to make sure Dixville continues to be a symbol of civic participation. But he acknowledged that keeping the midnight vote alive might also boost his quest to reopen the town’s shuttered resort.
State officials say they’re satisfied that Dixville has resolved the problems with its elections since 2016, but it’s keeping a close eye to be sure.
While Dixville will be back in the spotlight, there are other midnight voting locations in New Hampshire, including the town of Millsfield, which happens to be next door to Dixville.
“For us in Millsfield, it’s kind of humorous,” said Wayne Urso, Millsfield’s self-appointed town historian.
Millsfield is actually the birthplace of the midnight voting tradition, dating back to 1936, way before Dixville, when a 27-year-old woman named Genevieve Nadig dreamt it up.
“Reporters have come to Millsfield and then come into Dixville, and the big story that’s written is all about Dixville, with Millsfield being a side note,” Urso said.
For tonight’s midnight vote, an outside public relations company is fielding media credentials and orchestrating national news coverage of Dixville’s vote.
Over in Millsfield, Urso and his neighbors will get together at a local tavern, their designated polling place, to cast their ballots at the stroke of midnight. They say the press is welcome to show up, too.↑ Back to top
Biden Shows Newfound Sense Of Urgency
Joe Biden may be downplaying expectations in New Hampshire, but the former vice president, who has long been characterized as the front-runner in the Democratic presidential primary, has a lot at stake in Tuesday’s primary after his shaky fourth-place finish in the Iowa caucuses.
And while the Biden campaign has repeatedly suggested that results from the overwhelmingly white states of Iowa and New Hampshire should not be overinflated, a similar fourth-place finish in New Hampshire could raise serious questions about the general election prospects of a candidate who has run his entire campaign on the premise of his electability.
This past weekend, Biden seemed well aware of the risks to his front-runner sheen. There was a newfound sense of urgency as the campaign tried to recalibrate ahead of Tuesday’s primary.
On Friday, it announced a staff shakeup, elevating longtime adviser Anita Dunn. And on Saturday, Biden held a rare wide-ranging news conference with reporters, adopting perhaps the most aggressive tone we’ve seen from him to date, sharply singling out Pete Buttigieg’s resume.
“This guy’s not Barack Obama,” Biden told reporters, referring to the 38-year-old former mayor of South Bend, Ind. “Barack Obama had been senator of a really large state.”
For months, Biden has run a campaign focused squarely on President Trump, as if Trump were his only rival. But over the weekend, he redirected his criticism toward the two candidates who finished on top in Iowa: Buttigieg and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.
But all this is happening as Biden faces mounting pressure from another moderate rival, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who’s seen an uptick in recent New Hampshire polls.↑ Back to top
Warren Stays On Message And Away From Negativity
In the final push ahead of the New Hampshire primary, several Democratic presidential candidates are taking a negative tone about their opponents.
But that’s not a tactic Sen. Elizabeth Warren is embracing.
During town halls and get-out-the-vote events over the weekend, Warren gave speeches that sounded like the speeches she’s been giving throughout the campaign, filled with detailed policy proposals and refrains of “I’ve got a plan for that.”
Speaking to reporters after an event in Concord, Warren said going negative isn’t an effective strategy for Democrats.
“We’re going to have to bring our party together in order to beat Donald Trump,” she explained. “And the way we do this is not by launching a bunch of attacks on each other and trying to tear each other down.” (Listen to Warren on Morning Edition.)
Instead, she argues the key to defeating Trump is unifying as a party. She says she sees herself as the candidate who can unify factions of the Democratic electorate.
By and large, the voters attending her events appeared supportive of this strategy.
Sneha Magadi of Lebanon, N.H., says to listen to the words of former first lady Michelle Obama. “When they go low, we go high,” she recites. “I believe in that and that’s why I’m here today. Warren is choosing the higher road, which is what we need.”
Her father, Sean Magadi, agrees, saying there’s already enough negativity coming from the White House. “The negativity has already given us one president,” he cautions. “We don’t need another one like that.”
While John Grandi of Enfield, N.H., is still deciding between Warren, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and entrepreneur Andrew Yang, he likes that the Massachusetts senator is keeping her campaign positive.
“Why pick fights with each other?” he asks. “There’s one pretty unified enemy out there. Being positive is what’s going to get us through in the long run. … Just stay above it all. Be the bigger candidate.”↑ Back to top
Welcome To New Hampshire Primary Coverage!
So Iowa was … interesting.
But now the Democratic presidential nominating contest has moved on to New Hampshire, where voters head to the polls tomorrow. The final polls close at 8 p.m. ET on Tuesday and then the results — one hopes — will come in shortly thereafter.
While Iowa has its complicated caucus system, New Hampshire uses a simple secret-ballot primary, though it is “semi-open,” which means unenrolled voters can cast a ballot in either the Democratic or Republican primaries.
On the Democratic side, 24 delegates are up for grabs, and the race has shifted significantly since Iowa’s caucuses. Former Vice President Joe Biden’s poor Iowa showing has shifted him into attack mode, and over the weekend he targeted both candidates who finished in a virtual tie for first in Iowa: Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg.
Sanders won New Hampshire easily in the 2016 presidential race, but polls show a surging Buttigieg, and this year among his other rivals is a fellow New England progressive senator: Massachusetts’ Elizabeth Warren. Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar has also been rising in New Hampshire polls over the last couple of weeks.
Like Iowa, New Hampshire is not a state with much racial diversity; it’s about 93% white. After this primary, the Democratic race turns later this month to the more racially diverse states of Nevada and South Carolina.
New Hampshire’s results should provide more clarity as to which candidates are moving on, as well — and how their campaigns are faring.↑ Back to top