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New Hampshire primary live blog: Trump, Sanders win

February 9, 2016

Sen. Bernie Sanders and billionaire Donald Trump have won the Democratic and Republican presidential primaries in New Hampshire, in victories so decisive that the drama of primary night shifted to the Republicans battling for second, third and fourth place. Read more here.

  • Abby Livingston
  • ·

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), still in a fight for third place, effectively declared the night a moral victory for his campaign.

“The votes are still being counted, and the exact results are unknown,” Cruz said. “But right now it appears that we are effectively tied for third in the state of New Hampshire….

“Thank you, New Hampshire, for tonight’s results,” he later added. “Your victory tonight has left the Washington cartel utterly terrified.”

He went on to congratulate Trump and Kasich. The mention of Trump’s name elicited boos from the restive-but-not-quite-capacity crowd in Hollis, New Hampshire.

Prior to his remarks, Cruz placed a concession call to Trump.

After his Iowa victory a week ago, Cruz campaigned hard in the Granite State, holding about 19 campaign events in the past week. But over the last year, he mostly planted his campaign’s flag in evangelical-friendly Iowa, South Carolina and the southern Mar. 1 states.

“We’ve put Washington on the run, and tonight’s outcome is a victory for ‘we the people,'” he concluded. “And this election, this primary and this general election in November 2016, will be a victory for the hard-working men and women who want to believe again in the promise of America, against the bipartisan corruption in Washington — which, mark my words, will end on January 20.”

Abby Livingston is a staff writer for the Texas Tribune.

  • David Weigel
  • ·

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., smiles as he waves to the crowd during a primary night watch party at Concord High School, Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016, in Concord, N.H. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

CONCORD, N.H. — In the weeks after Sen. Bernie Sanders built a lead in the New Hampshire primary, Hillary Clinton and her allies cranked up the spin. “I know I am in a contest with your neighbor,” the former secretary of state told voters after arriving from Iowa. “A lot of political pundits have been opining, as political pundits do, that I should have just skipped coming to New Hampshire.” Sanders, who had fought wildly careening media expectations all year, needed to match them.

He did.

With two-thirds of the New Hampshire primary vote counted, Sanders led Clinton by 21 points. In vote-rich Rockingham County, where almost half of ballots remained to be counted, Sanders was leading by 17 points.

“If these numbers hold up, this will be the biggest victory in the history of contested Democratic primaries,” Sanders strategist Tad Devine said after the candidate’s victory speech here. “I worked for Gov. Dukakis when he won by 16 points. This, right now, is bigger than that.”

The size of the Sanders victory was practically unspinnable. According to adjusted exit polls, he had won more than 80 percent of voters under age 30 and won women by 11 points. He had won voters who lacked a college education, key to Clinton’s 2008 victory over Barack Obama, by a two-to-one margin. As the numbers came in, it was difficult to see any factor breaking Clinton’s way. And it was rather easy to see how Madeline Albright’s 11th hour declaration that there was a “special place in hell” for women who did not help out another woman — an old slogan of hers, newly applied to politics — had backfired.

“Honestly, I think a lot of female voters had the same reaction I did,” said Sanders’s state director Julia Barnes. “We have gone so far down the path of feminism that each of us should recognize the political agency of every woman.”

What would the campaign say to people who, like Clinton, dismissed Sanders as New Hampshire’s political neighbor?

“Tell that to Ed Muskie, Howard Dean, and Ted Kennedy,” said Devine, naming three losers of the primary whose roots in Maine, Vermont, and Massachusetts did not save them.

  • Sean Sullivan
  • ·

MANCHESTER, N.H — In the days after Sen. Marco Rubio’s widely mocked debate performance, he insisted he did nothing wrong — that he had simply repeated his line about President Obama trying to remake the country because he believes it deeply.

“I would pay them to keep running that clip because that’s what I believe passionately,” he told ABC News on Sunday.

He was singing a different tune after a disappointing lower-tier finish in New Hampshire’s primary Tuesday night.

“Our disappointment tonight is not on you — it’s on me,” Rubio, speaking in uncharacteristically blunt fashion, told supporters before the final results were in. “I did not do well on Saturday night, so listen to this: That will never happen again.”

  • Matea Gold
  • ·

Things didn’t go the way donors had hoped. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Republican donors who had been ebullient about Rubio after his stronger-than-expected performance in Iowa exchanged deflated messages Tuesday night. The prevailing mood: gloom, laced with hope that he would turn things around in South Carolina. His chastened comments played well, and gave supporters optimism that the campaign would step it up. There were no signs of immediate defections among his contributors — but there was a sense that he has a narrow path left.

“I don’t think it’s over, but it’s certainly not good,” said one fundraiser for the campaign, who requested anonymity to speak candidly. “He’s got to do well in South Carolina. If he doesn’t beat Bush, it’s over.”

  • David Weigel
  • ·

Gov. Chris Christie said Tuesday night he would head home to New Jersey to “take a deep breath” and re-assess his presidential bid.

“In the coming days I will make the decision that is best for my family, my state, and my country,” he said, after his campaign in New Hampshire — where he had focused most of his attention during the primary season – appeared to end with a disappointing sixth-place showing, which would not qualify him for a spot on the GOP debate stage in South Carolina this Saturday.

  • Chris Cillizza
  • ·

The New Hampshire primary is in the books. And the drama was over early as real estate mogul Donald Trump and Sen. Bernie Sanders cruised to easy — and poll-predicted — victories. The real fight emerged in the battle for second and third place among establishment Republicans desperate to grab a top-tier slot heading into the South Carolina primary. Below, the best and the worst of the night that was.


* Donald Trump: For all of the “I told you so”-ism after Trump’s not-so-good Iowa organization failed to make good on his polling lead going into that state’s caucuses, the real estate billionaire reasserted his grip on the Republican race with a convincing New Hampshire victory. Say what you will about Trump but he demonstrated real resilience in the face of a setback eight days ago in Iowa. Trump now has a second place in Iowa and a first place in New Hampshire — something very few people thought could happen even a few months ago.  Trump will head into South Carolina in 10 days with real momentum and having proved that he can do more than just draw big crowds to gawk at him. He proved tonight he can win.

* Bernie Sanders: If I told you six months ago that a 74-year-old socialist would crush the former secretary of state in the first-in-the-nation primary, there is NO way you would have believed me. Despite the best spin of Hillary Clinton’s campaign, Sanders’s win wasn’t simply about the fact that he represents a neighboring state. Howard Dean represented a neighboring state and lost badly to John Kerry in 2004.  This is a convincing win for Sanders that shows, for the second time in eight days, his appeal with young voters and the energy behind him. The race moves next to Nevada on Feb. 20, a caucus state where Sanders was already better positioned than most people give him credit for and where he will benefit from the positive coverage from his New Hampshire win. Then, as the race widens out nationally, there is only one real question for Sanders: Does what happened Tuesday night in New Hampshire make him more able to appeal to black and Hispanic voters? If not, he (still) can’t win.


* John Kasich: The Ohio governor put everything on the line in New Hampshire. The gamble worked as he managed to carve out a second place showing, ensuring that he will stay in the race through South Carolina and battle for the mantle of establishment choice within the party. Kasich’s lead adviser — John Weaver — proved yet again that he knows how to position a candidate to appeal to New Hampshire Republicans and independents. (Weaver was in John McCain’s inner circle when the Arizona senator stunned the political world in New Hampshire in 2000.) Kasich’s strength in New Hampshire could well be his undoing as the race moves south and westward; his crossover appeal as a non-partisan problem solver will play far less well in, say South Carolina than it did in the Granite State. But, that’s a worry for tomorrow for Kasich. At this point, he’s got to be happy that he even has a tomorrow to worry about in this race.

* Michael Bloomberg: The former New York City Mayor stoked the fires of a possible third party bid earlier this week by disparaging the “banal” nature of the current conversation in both parties. The wins in New Hampshire by Trump and Sanders open up the possibility that one or both men could wind up as their parties’s nominees, a dream scenario for those — most notably Bloomberg himself — who dream of a real chance for the former mayor.  I wouldn’t fall down dead if later this week “a Bloomberg insider” leaked either polling numbers or some sort of internal memo designed to stoke the fires for the former mayor’s independent bid.

* Young people: For the second straight contested Democratic nomination fight, voters ages 18-29 are not a story in the race but the story in the race.  Sanders’s massive totals among that age group in Iowa (84 percent) and New Hampshire (85 percent) are absolutely amazing.  And Clinton’s inability to win even one in four votes of young people will be a giant story in the next few days and weeks. Damn you, millennials. You win again.


* Richard Witz: The 73-year-old retired janitor from Massachusetts had more votes, as of this writing, than Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum and Jim Gilmore. Why? Maybe because Witz was sandwiched on the New Hampshire primary ballot between Jeb Bush and Donald Trump. It’s not clear whether Witz was in the state to enjoy his triumph; “I don’t know what’s going to happen with the snow,” he told a local Massachusetts paper on Monday. “I would like very much to go up, if I could find a place to park.”

* This guy at Donald Trump’s victory party


* Hillary Clinton: Yes, she lost as we expected. But the margin Clinton lost by is eye-opening.  By way of historical comparison, Clinton beat Barack Obama  in New Hampshire by three points in 2008. John Kerry beat Howard Dean by 12 points in 2004.  Al Gore beat Bill Bradley by four points in 2000.  Sanders’s margin over Clinton is certain to be wider than any of those. Her problems among young voters is real and troubling for a party whose current president built his electoral coalition on his strengths among voters ages 18-29. (“I know I have some work to do — particularly with young people,” Clinton said Tuesday night after the race was called.) In her concession speech, Clinton did everything she could to insist there was no space between her and Sanders on issues like income inequality and campaign finance reform. It remains to be seen whether she will be more effective at selling that idea than she has been in Iowa and New Hampshire. Clinton’s greatest strength as a politician is and has always been her resilience and perseverance. She gave a nod to that in her concession speech by insisting the key is not how many times you get knocked down but how many times you get up again. That strength will be severely tested in the coming days as there will be calls for her to make staff changes and for a major overhauling of her message.  Will she bend to the pressure? Should she?


*Chris Christie: The New Jersey governor peaked too soon. Six weeks ago, polls showed him cresting into double digits — and into the top three — in New Hampshire. But, unfortunately for Christie, the New Hampshire primary wasn’t six weeks ago.  Christie’s biggest contribution to the race in New Hampshire may have been the body slam he delivered to Marco Rubio in last Saturday’s debate in the state. Christie pledged earlier Tuesday that his campaign would continue on in South Carolina regardless of what happened in the Granite State. It’s hard to see that happening now.

* Marco Rubio: Coming off the Florida senator’s surprisingly strong third place showing in Iowa, Rubio’s people whispered about the possibility of him finishing second in New Hampshire. He didn’t come close. While it remains to be seen whether he will finish fourth (ahead of Bush) or fifth (behind Bush), it seems nearly certain he won’t get into the top three. That’s a missed opportunity for Rubio to consolidate the establishment behind him going into South Carolina. He will now not only face a real fight for the establishment vote from Kasich (and maybe Bush) in South Carolina but will also have to weather questions over the next few days about whether his robotic responses in the final days of the New Hampshire primary were a sign of bigger problems with his candidacy.

* Maggie Hassan/Jeanne Shaheen: The sitting governor and the state’s Democratic senator were high-profile endorsers and surrogates for Clinton in New Hampshire. Didn’t matter. Like, at all. Which provides yet further evidence that endorsements are, almost always, meaningless in the context of a presidential primary process.

* Ben Carson and Carly Fiorina: So, I hate to be the one to break it to Ben and Carly, but, well, it’s all over.


* Bernie Sanders’s victory speech: Why was it so looooooong? Sanders simply read his stump speech. Yes, the assembled crowd went bananas. But, it felt like a missed opportunity for Sanders to reach out to the folks who are outside of Sanders’s ardent base of support. The moment felt like it required something more than Sanders delivered.

  • Jennifer Amur
  • ·

“We are going to start winning again,” Donald Trump said after a resounding win over the Republican field.

  • Jennifer Amur
  • ·

In her concession speech, Hillary Clinton touched on a variety of issues in front of an energetic crowd.

  • Ed O'Keefe
  • ·

MANCHESTER, N.H. — Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush made clear Tuesday night that his campaign will carry on in to South Carolina on Wednesday, saying “this campaign’s not dead.

Speaking to roughly 250 supporters at the Manchester Community College, Bush thanked his supporters, many of whom came from Florida to knock on tens of thousands of doors on recent weekends.

“The pundits had it all figured out last Monday night when the Iowa caucuses were complete,” he said. “They said the race was now a three-person race between two freshmen senators and a reality TV star. And while the reality TV star’s still doing well, it looks like you all have reset the race.”

“We’re electing the president of the United States. A person that has to make tough decisions. And I got to share my heart and share my ideas about the future of this country and I’m so grateful to have that opportunity here in New Hampshire,” he added.

He recounted meeting different New Hampshire residents, including a woman who worked with drug addicts, a man whose small brewing company has struggled amid delays in federal licensing and a man who was incorrectly declared dead by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

“Just like he’s not dead, this campaign’s not dead – we’re going on to South Carolina,” Bush declared to loud cheers.

Attention turns quickly to the Palmetto State, where Bush has three rallies scheduled on Wednesday, in Hilton Head, Mount Pleasant and Murrells Inlet. On Thursday he is scheduled to visit Florence, Sumter and Columbia. At some point soon he is expected to campaign with his older brother, former president George W. Bush.

Supporters were especially pleased to see Bush leading Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and dismissed John Kasich’s second-place finish, believing that the Ohio governor will struggle in South Carolina, where he has a smaller operation.

Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), a Bush supporter, was bullish on the former governor’s chances in his home state.

“I think Jeb had his back to the wall and he rose to the occasion. Everybody running for president is going to get knocked down eventually,” the senator said. “The test of whether or not you can get up was passed today in New Hampshire. Now we’re up on our feet and we’re going to run in South Carolina.”

  • Matea Gold
  • ·

Bernie Sanders’ supporters in Concord, N.H., are ecstatic as results come in showing Sanders with a big lead. (Photo by Lucian Perkins /for The Washington Post)

Sen. Bernie Sanders’s appeal for campaign contributions during his New Hampshire primary night victory speech Tuesday appears to have resonated with supporters — perhaps too well.

Shortly after Sanders asked donors to go to his website, declaring, “I am going to hold a fundraiser right here, right now across America,” his donors began tweeting that that they were unable to give because the site was crashing.

Sanders spokesman Michael Briggs said the surge of contributions drove “the biggest traffic in the history of the campaign.”

Small online contributions have fueled Sanders’ campaign, helping him raise $20 million in January, beating out Hillary Clinton’s $15 million. In the 24 hours that followed his narrow loss in the Iowa caucuses, his campaign had its biggest fundraising day ever, collecting $3 million.

David Weigel contributed to this report.

  • Sean Sullivan
  • ·

MANCHESTER, N.H — “Our disappointment tonight is not on you — it’s on me. I did not do well on Saturday night so listen to this — that will never happen again.”

That was Sen. Marco Rubio’s message to supporters here as he was on pace for a disappointing showing Tuesday night.

But Rubio added: “We did not wind up where wanted to be, but that does not change where we’ll wind up at the end of this process.”

  • Jennifer Amur
  • ·

Sanders thanked supporters for high voter turnout after winning the New Hampshire primary.

  • Abby Phillip
  • ·

Looking ahead. (Photo by Melina Mara/The Washington Post)

After speaking Tuesday night, Hillary Clinton and former president Bill Clinton spent about a half hour greeting an upbeat audience who stayed long after her remarks to greet them.

With the end of her remarks, the energy in the room seemed to have dissipated. Still, supporters said they weren’t disappointed by the loss, which they said they had expected.

“I think it’s a little blip,” said Elizabeth Taylor, 66, who came from Massachusetts to volunteer for the campaign in Nashua, N.H. “I think it’s Bernie’s last stand.”

Taylor said she is excited for the campaign to move on to states like South Carolina and Nevada, where the campaign believes Clinton has an advantage.

“I think she’s going to take [South Carolina] and Bernie is going to start to fade,” she added.

Clinton delivered remarks from a teleprompter, debuting a speech that pivoted to the contests ahead which will rely more heavily on her ability to maintain her current high levels of support from African American voters.

In the audience, supporters responded with deafening cheers, as Clinton focused on “human rights” for racial minorities, LGBT individuals, and women.

“The passion in her voice… .that’s what I’m looking for in a president,” said Sarah Jayne Howland, 46.

  • David A. Fahrenthold
  • ·
Someone sets up the room for Kasich's primary night gathering in Concord, N.H. (Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

Someone sets up the room for Kasich’s primary night gathering in Concord, N.H. (Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

Finishing in second place on the Republican side, behind Donald Trump, was Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a relatively moderate candidate who might face a difficult time unifying the party behind him in the next few primary states.

After Kasich, there was a close race for third between Sen. Ted Cruz (Tex.) — who won the Iowa caucuses last week — and former Florida governor Jeb Bush.

  • Kayla Epstein
  • ·

Bernie Sanders is celebrating his primary victory by shooting some hoops before he speaks to his supporters.

Here’s a shot from the Vermont senator’s Snapchat:

bernie b bal

Here’s a video of him in action.

“How’s he making every single one?” wondered one Fox anchor. The reply: “He’s from Brooklyn.”

  • Abby Phillip
  • ·

In the memo where the Clinton campaign conceded the New Hampshire race to Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders early on Tuesday night, campaign manager Robby Mook detailed the advantages her team will point to New Hampshire.

Here are the key talking points:

  • African American and minority voters: “Hillary’s high levels of support in the African American and Hispanic communities are well known. She has maintained a wide double digit lead over Sen. Sanders among minority voters in national surveys and in states where African American and Hispanic voters make up a large share of the electorate. That type of support was not created overnight; it has been forged over more than 40 years of fighting for and alongside communities of color.”
  • Data-driven campaign focused on securing delegates rather than winning or losing individual states: “The way to win the nomination is to maximize the number of delegates we secure from each primary and caucus. That means, in many cases, that the margin of victory (or defeat) within a given state is actually more important than whether the state is won or lost.”
  • Delegate math: “While important, the first four states represent just 4% of the delegates needed to secure the nomination; the 28 states that vote (or caucus) in March will award 56% of the delegates needed to win.”

Mook-Memo-2-9-16 (Text)

  • Chris Cillizza
  • ·

In Iowa’s caucuses, Bernie Sanders won 84 percent of the vote among 17-29 year olds.  Eight days later, tonight in New Hampshire, he won 85 percent, according to preliminary exit polls.

That sort of dominance is remarkable among any demographic subgroup. It’s particularly amazing when you consider that the candidate so dominating among young people is a 74 year old avowed socialist.

How does Sanders’s dominance among young people compare to how Barack Obama performed among that subgroup in the 2008 primaries? It’s not an apples to apples comparison because Obama was in the midst in a competitive three-way race while Sanders and Clinton is a two-way race. Still, Obama won 17-29 year olds 57 percent to 14 percent for  John Edwards and 11 percent for Clinton in Iowa in 2008.

  • David A. Fahrenthold
  • ·

Winning. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Republican exit polls reported by CNN showed how dominant Trump’s victory in New Hampshire had been. Trump won among people who said they had been “betrayed by Republican politicians” – but also among those who didn’t feel betrayed.

Trump won both men and women, won the married and the unmarried, won college graduates and non-graduates, won high earners and low earners. He won both those who called themselves “conservative” and those who called themselves “moderate/liberal.”

The few sub-groups that Trump did not win included those who called themselves evangelical or born-again: Cruz won that group with 24 percent. But his victory in that group – a core part of Cruz’s support – came by just a single percentage point. In second place, with 23 percent, was Trump. Kasich won among voters who said they were “somewhat worried” about the economy, though Trump won the group that said they were “very worried.” Trump lost among the voters who believed “electability” was the most important quality in a candidate: they went for Rubio.

The most amazing statistic in the poll came from a question that asked voters about what should be done with undocumented immigrants who were already in the United S.tates Trump, of course, has said he would deport all 12 million of them. It was no surprise, then, that Trump won among the voters who supported mass deportation.

But, astoundingly, he also won among voters who said that deportation was the wrong choice. Among that group of voters – the 66 percent of Republicans who supported offering legal status to undocumented immigrants, the exact opposite of Trump’s plan – 22 percent supported Trump anyway. That was enough to tie Kasich for first place.

The exit polls reported by CNN showed that 66 percent of Republican primary voters supported an idea that Trump has praised: a temporary ban on Muslim foreigners entering the United States. In that group, not surprisingly, Trump was the most popular candidate, with 42 percent support.

  • Ed O'Keefe
  • ·

THE CONTENDERS | Will Weatherford, a former Florida House speaker who has campaigned with Jeb Bush in recent days, sounded a positive note on Tuesday night shortly after polls closed in New Hampshire – a sign that the campaign is feeling confident.

While Bush isn’t expected to finish first or possibly even second, he appears to be holding on for third place early in the night, ahead of Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, his Miami neighbor and former mentee.

Looking at early results, “This is a unique moment in the campaign,” Weatherford said. “People for months have been trying to write off Jeb Bush and saying that his campaign was going nowhere and that it was dead. Look — for those who thought this campaign was dead, tonight’s a resurrection of that campaign.”

Weatherford said Bush goes into South Carolina “with a tremendous amount of momentum. The guy who’s going to finish ahead of him — which is going to be John Kasich, it look likes — has no money, has no infrastructure and is going to run into a brick wall in South Carolina. It’s not going to be favorable to his liberal policies.”

The Palmetto State “is a state that’s been extremely favorable to him and his family over the years. It’s a state that they’re very familiar with — it’s a state they’ve been running TV ads in for weeks.”

Bush’s campaign watch party is at the Manchester Community College, but the candidate and his family were still at his hotel in Concord watching returns. He isn’t expected to speak until after 9 p.m.

“This is a momentous moment for us,” Weatherford added. “And conversely for Marco, it’s a really tough night.”

  • David A. Fahrenthold
  • ·
Sanders supporter Anjuli Willmer, from Los Angeles, anxiously waits for results at Concord High School. (Lucian Perkins for The Washington Post)

Sanders supporter Anjuli Willmer, from Los Angeles, anxiously waits for results at Concord High School. (Lucian Perkins for The Washington Post)

Exit polls reported by CNN showed that Sanders had trounced Clinton among self-identified independents, winning that group by 72 percent. The two candidates evenly split voters who identified themselves as Democrats. Sanders also won all the ideological groups that the polls surveyed: Democratic voters calling themselves “very liberal,” “somewhat liberal,” and “moderate” all preferred him to Clinton.

Another telling detail: Clinton won handily among the voters who said the quality they wanted most in a candidate was “electability.” Her advantage among that group was 81 percent to 18 percent. But Sanders dominated in the group that said the most important quality was that the candidate “cares” and in the group that said it was most important that the candidate was honest. In the group that cared about honesty, Sanders won by 92 percent to 6 percent, according to CNN.

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