New Hampshire Primary

Sanders scores the win, Klobuchar causes frenzy: The latest from N.H.

The Democratic presidential candidates went into Tuesday seeking a big boost before Nevada and South Carolina.

New Hampshire primary


Bernie Sanders got the repeat victory he was looking for in New Hampshire, four years after a huge win in the first primary state jumpstarted his 2016 campaign.

Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar also celebrated top-three finishes, while Elizabeth Warren and Joe Biden look set to get left out of the chase for delegates. And Democrats nationally sighed in relief at experiencing a simple and smooth election night after last week’s vote-counting trouble in the Iowa caucuses.

Our team of reporters on the ground in New Hampshire are tracking all the news and key moments on primary day. Check back throughout primary night as we update this story with news reports, video and photos from the campaign trail.

Here’s what the candidates are doing and how their campaigns are planning for the next steps beyond New Hampshire.

11:08 p.m.

Sanders wins

Sanders has won the New Hampshire primary, according to three networks. The Vermont senator had 26 percent of the vote to Buttigieg's 24 percent when the race was called with three-quarters of precincts reporting.

As the candidates move on to Nevada, South Carolina and especially the 14-state bonanza of Super Tuesday, the money Sanders generates from his supporters' excitement Tuesday night will play an enormously important role over the next month. It's not the 60 percent of the vote Sanders claimed over Hillary Clinton at this stage in the 2016 Democratic primary, but his campaign will take it given the crowded field competing for the 2020 nomination.

Read more here.

10:42 p.m. in Concord, N.H.

Klobuchar fires up supporters on top-three finish

Klobuchar supporters cycled through “Vote Amy! Beat Trump!” and “She knows me!” chants for nearly ten minutes before the senator finally came out on stage to celebrate breaking into the top three in New Hampshire after finishing fifth in Iowa.

“While there are still ballots to be counted, we have beaten the odds every step of the way,” Klobuchar said.

She thanked her supporters — who continued to cheer and chant throughout the speech — and transitioned briefly to her familiar talking points of unity and empathy, speaking to a TV audience that may be learning about Klobuchar for the first time.

Staffers were in bright spirits, smiling and hugging throughout the night. While the battle for the top is between Sanders and Buttigieg, Klobuchar is strongly in third as results continue to come in.

“We are on to Nevada because the best is yet to come,” Klobuchar said.

-Marcus Navarro

9:41 p.m.

Exit polling shows last-minute deciders broke heavily for Buttigieg

CNN exit polling shows that Buttigieg was the best closer among the Democratic candidates, besting his rivals among the 15 percent of voters who only decided who to support on Tuesday.

Among those voters, 31 percent went to the former mayor, with Klobuchar in second, winning over 16 percent of last-minute deciders.

Both Klobuchar and Buttigieg appear to have received big boosts from their debate performance last week — 49 percent of Democratic voters called the debate a “very important” factor in their decision, and Klobuchar won 30 percent of those voters, while Buttigieg won 22 percent of those voters.

Among the one-third of voters who said they'd decided "in the last few days," Buttigieg again led with 29 percent, while Klobuchar got 24 percent among that group.

But among voters relatively set in their decisions, exit polls showed Sanders was the overwhelming favorite. Among the 36 percent that decided on their vote before 2020, nearly half went for the Vermont senator.

-Caitlin Oprysko

9:34 p.m.

Warren boosts Klobuchar in her election night speech

It was clear that Sen. Elizabeth Warren was highly unlikely to win New Hampshire as the early results flowed in. So in her election night speech Tuesday, Warren gave a boost to someone else — the top remaining female contender in the first-in-the-nation primary.

“Right now it is clear that Senator Sanders and Mayor Buttigieg had strong nights," Warren said. But, she added, “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.”

Read more here.

-Caitlin Oprysko

8:58 p.m. in Concord, N.H.

Klobuchar draws media frenzy

Over 200 members of the media reserved spots at Klobuchar's election night watch party, with staffers continuously expanding the press section as more reporters filed in at the beginning of the night, as early returns showed Klobuchar running in third place behind Sanders and Buttigieg.

Klobuchar's surge in New Hampshire since Friday's debate has been the talk of the campaign for the last few days, and her team is already taking advantage, before we know the full results on Tuesday. Klobuchar announced the launch of two new ads in Nevada, and she'll hold a fundraiser in New York City on Wednesday.

-Marcus Navarro

8:38 p.m.

Bennet ends his campaign

Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet is ending his presidential run, following a lackluster performance in the New Hampshire primary.

The moderate Democrat had staked his campaign on a surprise showing in the first primary state.

Check out more here.

-Elena Schneider

8:15 p.m.

Trump wins New Hampshire's GOP primary

We have a winner — on the Republican side.

The Associated Press called that primary early for President Donald Trump, who had 83 percent of the vote with 8 percent of precincts reporting. Bill Weld, the former governor of neighboring Massachusetts, was a distant second at just over 12 percent of the vote in the early results.

Read more here.

-Caitlin Oprysko

8:00 p.m.

Yang drops out

Businessman Andrew Yang dropped out of the Democratic presidential primary on Tuesday night, facing a likely disappointing showing in New Hampshire.

The entrepreneur and political newcomer, who emerged out of obscurity last year to outperform a host of established politicians, had been banking on a strong finish in the state in order to continue.

Check out more on this story here.

-Eugene Daniels

7:32 p.m.

Exit poll shows more moderate Dem electorate compared to 2016

The initial New Hampshire exit poll results from the National Election Pool show a more moderate primary electorate than four years ago.

According to the early polling, 36 percent of voters described themselves as “moderate,” up 9 points from four years ago. Those numbers are subject to change as more results filter in, but that could provide a boost to the handful of more moderate candidates jockeying for top-5 finishes — and it could squeeze the candidates competing for a piece of the left, if Sanders is able to take a large share of those voters.

-Caitlin Oprysko

6:10 p.m.

Warren campaign plots a path forward, criticizes rivals

On the trail during the critical week between the contests in Iowa and New Hampshire, Warren stuck to her strategy of not discussing polls and declining to take shots at her rivals, preferring to stay positive and above the fray.

That may be over.

Just before the New Hampshire primary, Warren campaign manager Roger Lau released an extraordinary memo criticizing her rivals and citing numerous polls, trying to lay out a plausible path to victory for the embattled Massachusetts senator.

Lau wrote that Sanders has “a ceiling that's significantly lower than the support he had four years ago” and that he “hasn't faced the scrutiny of his record." He said Buttigieg “still hasn't answered tough questions about his record” and that former Vice President Joe Biden’s “support among younger voters has fallen to just 6%."

Lau argued the race would be “volatile and unpredictable” through Super Tuesday on March 3, at which point he confidently predicted the 2020 campaign would be winnowed to Warren, Biden, and Sanders based on the campaign's “internal projections.” While Warren's campaign occasionally boasts they don't have an outside pollster, they released some pretty detailed estimates of the Super Tuesday state of play. A campaign spokesperson did not respond when asked how the campaign got these numbers or if there would be any staff shakeups.

From the memo:

  • * Total districts in play on Super Tuesday: 165
  • * Sanders at or above threshold in 161 districts (98%)
  • * Biden at or above threshold in 159 districts (96%)
  • * Warren at or above threshold in 108 districts (65%)
  • * Bloomberg at or above threshold in 25 districts (15%)
  • * Buttigieg at or above threshold in 10 districts (6%)
  • * Klobuchar at or above threshold in Minnesota only (5%)
  • * No other candidate is currently projected to reach the 15% threshold in a single Super Tuesday district

The memo also functioned as an explicit rebuke at those who have said her campaign is doomed. “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,” Lau wrote.

-Alex Thompson

5:07 p.m. in Concord, N.H.

N.H. officials: No security issues with primary so far

State election officials said they have not had any reported security issues with the New Hampshire primary so far, and everything seems to be going smoothly.

Unlike Iowa, New Hampshire has paper-and-pencil ballots, which are counted by machines without internet connectivity. Afterward, state police officers fan out across the state to collect the official printouts of final tallies and deliver them to the statehouse.

"We're definitely not looking at an Iowa," said Associate Attorney General Anne Edwards. "Our election is completely different."

"There's no Russian hacking," she continued. "I'm not sure what the Russians would hack. Our voting machines only plug into the wall."

The biggest concern being called into the election hotline is people who forgot to switch their party affiliation. New Hampshrie voters can register as "undeclared" with a political party, allowing them to vote in either primary. But if they want to keep that undeclared status, they have to switch back after voting, or they will be locked into that party's primary next time they vote.

The only other significant issue is confusion caused by a media report, which was quickly corrected, about 17-year-olds being allowed to vote.

-Trent Spiner

3:09 p.m. in Nashua, N.H.

Warren disses Biden for South Carolina retreat

After greeting supporters at a polling station in Nashua, Warren dinged Biden going to South Carolina Tuesday night and skipping his campaign's election night party in New Hampshire.

“I think it says that he’s not here to fight for the voters in New Hampshire,” Warren told reporters. “I think that this is what democracy is about. You get out there, you talk to voters and we fight for every vote. That's who I am. I am a fighter."

Warren has been working to make sure she finishes ahead of Biden in Tuesday’s contest. And Biden’s blunt lowering of expectations in last week’s debate, along with his move to South Carolina today, has given Warren an opportunity to contrast herself in a state where she needs to do well after her third-place finish in Iowa.

-Alex Thompson

1:43 p.m.

Biden readies for Bloomberg showdown

Tuesday seemed like a perfect time for Joe Biden to change the subject about his fortunes in New Hampshire and take a shot at Mike Bloomberg, whose presidential campaign is reeling over the revelation of racial remarks concerning stop-and-frisk policing when he was mayor of New York City.

But Biden demurred when asked by reporters at a Dunkin Donuts in Manchester and then at another nearby stop. Later, at Martha’s Exchange Restaurant & Brewing Co. in Nashua, Biden said he’ll bring it up at the Nevada debate against Bloomberg.

“When we finish going to the polls, we're going to going to go down to South Carolina and then off to Nevada and we're going to debate him there. I’m anxious to talk about it,” Biden said.

Why not talk about it now?

“We need to see him,” Biden said of Bloomberg. “We have plenty of time.”

-Marc Caputo

1:20 p.m. in Manchester, N.H.

Biden's star-crossed Dunkin stop

A scene at a Manchester Dunkin Donuts gave an apt impression of Biden's star-crossed New Hampshire campaign, after he said he's heading to South Carolina instead of attending the event his campaign had initially planned in the first primary state.

As Biden boarded his giant campaign bus to leave the donut shop, a local whose car had been blocked in let everyone know she wasn't happy.

"Your damn bus is too big! I gotta get outta here," she screamed.

-Marc Caputo

12:50 p.m.

Sanders adviser Weaver questions Biden's electability argument

Jeff Weaver, Sanders’ senior adviser, took a shot at Biden’s argument that he’s the best-positioned to beat Donald Trump in 2020 on Tuesday.

“Well, look, when you run, no offense to the vice president. When you run a campaign around electability, you have to win elections,” Weaver said on MSNBC, in response to a question about Sander’s rise in latest national Quinnipiac poll. “(Biden) had a disappointing showing in Iowa. We’ll see how he does tonight and in future states.”

Sanders took the lead nationally in the Quinnipiac University poll released Monday, with the Vermont senator surpassing longtime national frontrunner Biden, who plummeted 9 points after a poor performance in Iowa.

“I think people are coming around to understanding that (Sanders) is the type of person, he’s uniquely able to put together the kind of coalition we’re going to need to beat Trump," Weaver said. "Bringing out large numbers of young people, energizing Latino communities, and other communities of color, bringing those people back into the process."

-Myah Ward

12:01 p.m. in Manchester, N.H.

Sanders says he has chance to do 'really, really well' in New Hampshire

Bernie Sanders said Tuesday afternoon that he has "a chance to do really, really well here tonight."

While stopping at a polling place, an event that was not on his schedule, the Vermont senator said he believes he will perform strongly in New Hampshire thanks to his volunteer army and "an agenda that speaks to the needs of working families all across this country who, in many cases, feel that Washington has turned its back on them."

Asked about Joe Biden's decision to head to South Carolina tonight — instead of staying in New Hampshire or flying to the next caucus state of Nevada — he smiled.

"You have to ask Joe, I don't know," he said. "All I can say is we will be here tonight.”

11:56 a.m. in Manchester, N.H.

Biden retreats to South Carolina

Facing the prospect of a bracing defeat, Joe Biden is fleeing the first-in-the-nation primary state to retreat Tuesday to his stronghold of South Carolina.

“I’m going to head to South Carolina tonight and I’m going to go to Nevada,” Biden, listing off the last two states that will vote later this month, told reporters during a stop at a Manchester, New Hampshire Dunkin Donuts shop.

Biden’s surprise decision to exit the state and retreat to South Carolina — where his campaign is throwing a “launch party” — is the latest tactic in his strategy to shift the focus from his big loss in Iowa and his expected defeat in New Hampshire.

The campaign argues that Biden, who has enjoyed outsized support from black voters and strong backing from Latinos, was disadvantaged by the majority white electorates in the first two early states.

Read the full story here ≫

- Marc Caputo

11:40 a.m. in Manchester, N.H.

Voter turnout expected to fall short of sky-high predictions

The state Democratic Party here expects turnout to be lower than previous primaries, but the party chairman hopes the lack of interest doesn’t carry over into November.

“Some voters might just not want to be forced to make a choice between one of these candidates, because they believe that whoever is the nominee that [is who] they're going to support,” said Chairman Raymond Buckley.

New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner predicted Tuesday that 420,000 Granite Staters will vote — 292,000 will pull Democratic ballots and 128,000 Republicans. In 2016, about 250,000 Democrats voted.

In Manchester’s ward four, the clerk said the low turnout predictions — relative to past projections of astronomical turnout among Democrats — seem to be accurate. As of 11 a.m., 400 Democrats have voted. In 2016, a total of 1,304 voted in the Democratic primary.

"This time around there's virtually nobody outside or very small group of people outside," fourth ward clerk Steve Mathieu said.

Another factor that can make a difference is the weather, which thus far is cooperating — it’s gray with a steady mist of light rain, but temperatures are in the high 30s.

- Trent Spiner

10:15 a.m. in portsmouth, N.h.

Warren takes shot at Bernie over effectiveness

Warren made her first stop of primary day at Portsmouth Middle School with a box of Dunkin Donuts in hand for her volunteers and supporters who met her with chants of “It’s time for a woman in the White House!” and “Win with Warren!”

Talking with reporters briefly, Warren drew a rare and subtle contrast with progressive rival Bernie Sanders, casting herself as the more effective of the two. Here is the exchange when asked about her differences with Sanders:

Warren: Well it’s there

Reporter: What would you point to?

Warren: You know, look, I'm not gonna criticize Bernie. You know I haven't. But I've tried to make clear. The approach I use, overall, I believe that we ought to try to get as much good to as many people as quickly as we can. We voted, for example, in different ways on the trade deal. Bernie said not good enough and I said, I'll take some help and fight for better. And I think that's a difference. I don't want to be critical. It's just a difference between how we approach this—

Reporter: Do you think you’re more pragmatic?

Warren: I'm determined to get things done, I've already done things and seen the difference it can make.

Warren also pointed to her role in setting up the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau before she was a senator as evidence of her ability to get things done. Warren has long resisted attacking Sanders -- and he has largely reciprocated although some staffers and surrogates have not.

But as Sanders looks ascendant, Warren may try to draw more distinctions like this. The Warren-allied outside group Progressive Change Campaign Committee previewed this strategy Monday in an email to supporters arguing Warren is the “only candidate who is a bold progressive, effective, and can defeat Trump.”

Warren also met one of the first people to cast their ballot for the Massachusetts senator. Barbara Destefano, a 70-year-old retiree from Portsmouth, came up to Warren to tell her she had voted for her. “She’s the one I wanted all along,” she told POLITICO.

- Alex Thompson

9:54 a.m.

Biden says Super Tuesday is his 'path to victory' in Dem primaries

Joe Biden is counting on Super Tuesday as his “path to victory” after broadcasting his expectation that he will fall short in Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary.

“My path to victory is Super Tuesday and whether or not I can — look, the next person, the next nominee, has to be able to win in Pennsylvania, in Michigan, in Arizona, in places we... didn’t win last time,” Biden said Monday in an interview that aired Tuesday on CNN’s “New Day.”

Most recent polls show Biden, who placed fourth in last week’s Iowa caucuses, neck-and-neck with Elizabeth Warren for third place in New Hampshire, well back of Sen. Bernie Sanders and former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg. Biden’s standing in New Hampshire is further imperiled by a surge of support for Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, a spike that could drop the former vice president as far as fifth place.

Biden’s campaign has redirected efforts to states next in line for the primary, like South Carolina, where Biden maintains strong support among black voters.

“I’m anxious to get to South Carolina and Nevada,” Biden said. “I view this as, you know, a package of four, just out of the gate. And I don’t know how you can judge who is going to likely be able to win the nomination until you have the African-American vote and the Latino vote. And that doesn’t come until later.”

Biden’s relatively poor performance in Iowa, combined with his expected struggles in New Hampshire, have set off alarm bells for the candidate who has led most national polls since entering the race earlier this year. The former vice president shrugged off any suggestion that his campaign has taken a financial hit from the lack of early momentum.

“I’m in this until the end, and I believe I’m going to win this nomination,” Biden said. “I really do.”

- Myah Ward

9:42 a.m.

Mayor Pete dials up electability arguments against Sanders

Pete Buttigieg's attacks on Bernie Sanders are sharpening — if only slightly. Buttigieg told NBC News that it "would be very difficult" for Sanders, his chief rival out of Iowa and now in New Hampshire, to win in November.

"It's not just because of the labels. It's because of the approach," Buttigieg said. "When you look at what he's proposing in terms of the budget, all the things he's put forward and how to pay for them, there's a $25 trillion hole in how to pay for everything that he's put forward."

In the wee hours of Tuesday morning, Buttigieg stopped by a handful of polling sites in Manchester, Hopkinton and Nashua, greeting voters and answering questions from the press, trailing him along the way. When asked if he thought he would win New Hampshire, Buttigieg said, "we think so."

- Elena Schneider

9:42 a.m. in Manchester, N.H.

Klobuchar claims (very) early lead after overnight voting in small precincts

It may not be an indicator of things to come. But after midnight voting in three tiny precincts in New Hampshire, Amy Klobuchar is leading the Democratic field for the moment with eight votes.

Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren each have four.

Klobuchar appeared to be gaining traction in the run-up to today’s New Hampshire primary, hitting third place in some recent polls.

“Something’s happening here,” she said at a polling location in Manchester on Tuesday morning. “And we just want to seize the moment, so I’m going to work my heart out all day.”

After the early vote in Dixville Notch, Millsfield and Hart’s Location, the Minnesota senator had at least a handful of actual votes on her side.

“We’re feeling good, just based on the raw, broad samples from this morning,” she joked. “Those gigantic polling locations up north.”

- David Siders

Look Ahead

Joe Biden braces for a modest showing

Biden hasn’t so much telegraphed his expectations for New Hampshire as he’s shouted them into a megaphone, even saying on the debate state last Friday, “I took a hit in Iowa, and I’ll probably take a hit here.” Most recent polls have shown Biden scrapping with Warren for third place — but Klobuchar’s rise in some surveys since the debate could mean fifth place is a possibility.

As a result, Biden’s campaign has sought to shine attention on the states coming up next in the primary, particularly South Carolina, where strong support from black voters has kept Biden in the lead there throughout most of the primary.

But first, Biden will hold an election night event in Nashua Tuesday night, hoping for a little jolt to help him on his way through the primary calendar.

- Scott Bland

Pete Buttigieg hopes for a second surprise finish

Buttigieg is hoping to repeat the same surprise finish in Iowa, where he currently leads the delegate count by a razor-thin margin amid a recanvass of last Monday’s votes. The former South Bend, Ind., mayor has come a long way in the 2020 campaign, from an unknown upstart last spring to a serious contender in the first two early states.

But Buttigieg has a lot riding on the results Tuesday night, because the Democratic primary is about to move into states where he has — so far — shown no ability to break in, partly because voters of color have not warmed to him. Nevada, the next state on the calendar, has large numbers of Latino and black voters, while South Carolina’s Democratic primaries are majority-black.

Buttigieg closed out his 8-day sprint across New Hampshire the same way he did in Iowa: blanketing the TV airwaves with interviews and churning through as many town halls as possible. He drew multiple thousand-person crowds, but he’s still running behind Sanders in polling.

Buttigieg will start Tuesday by taking a run, the same way he starts the morning on most big political days. Soon after, he’ll greet voters in Manchester, Nashua and Bedford, before the campaign returns to Nashua for its election night party, where the former mayor is expected to speak at some point.

- Elena Schneider

Amy Klobuchar needs a win

Klobuchar had her best day of the 2020 primary on Monday, reaching third place in a Boston Globe/WBZ-TV/Suffolk University poll of New Hampshire.

She’ll find out tonight if she can make it stick.

Klobuchar might even claim victory with a fourth-place finish in New Hampshire after finishing fifth in Iowa. But a third-place result could entirely alter the trajectory of her campaign — and deal a blow to Biden and Warren if they end up behind her.

Klobuchar will host an election night party in Concord. Then it’s on to Nevada, where she will scramble to assemble an organization to compete with candidates who have been tilling the soil in that state for months.

- David Siders

Bernie Sanders rides wave of momentum into primary day

Sanders rolled into primary day with a rollicking get-out-the-vote concert Monday night featuring Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and The Strokes in Durham — a split-screen moment as President Donald Trump rallied his supporters 45 minutes away in Manchester. According to Sanders' campaign, 7,500 people turned out to the event.

Expectations in the state are high for Sanders for multiple reasons: He defeated Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire by 22 percentage points in 2016. He’s first in the state’s polls. He’s from the state next door.

But New Hampshire voters are known for making up their minds at the last minute, and Sanders’ moderate rival Pete Buttigieg has surged in New Hampshire polls since the Iowa caucuses. Sanders’ campaign has kept its eye on Buttigieg’s rise, and the Vermont senator has criticized the ex-mayor over his billionaire donors in recent days. Sanders’ team got good news on that front Monday: A CNN poll showed Sanders with a comfortable lead over Buttigieg in New Hampshire.

Sanders only has one event on his schedule Tuesday: a night-time rally in Manchester after the polls close.

- Holly Otterbein

Elizabeth Warren sticks to her stump speech

Warren’s team is hoping for a surprise on Tuesday. Like in Iowa, her get-out-the-vote team is considered top-notch, Warren had heaps of supporters coming in from Massachusetts over the weekend to help knock doors, and she is a known quantity in next-door New Hamsphire in ways that most of her competitors are not, save Bernie Sanders.

But most polls show Warren in third or even fourth in New Hampshire after her third-place showing in Iowa. Even her close allies like the Progressive Change Campaign Committee have begun trying to talk up her prospects in Nevada and South Carolina despite Warren investing far less time, money, and staff in those states than in neighboring New Hampshire.

Yet Warren’s campaign has made only superficial tweaks to her messaging and stump speech. And Warren poked fun at questions from reporters Monday about her poll numbers and path forward: “I get questions about process and what do I do? I talk about policy,” she said with a knowing grin. Pressed on the polls, she noted that she had defied expectations before when many prognosticators thought her campaign was dead last spring.

"I think the prediction business right now is not something I’d be investing heavily in,” Warren continued.

Warren will visit a handful of polling locations around New Hampshire during voting hours on Tuesday, before gathering supporters for an election night event at the Executive Health and Sports Center in Manchester.

- Alex Thompson