Red Dawn

Sanders crushes Clinton in New Hampshire—and Trump tops GOP race
Bernie Sanders / AP

Bernie Sanders / AP

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Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) and businessman Donald Trump declared victory in New Hampshire Tuesday night, as returns showed both men achieving huge margins over the rest of their parties’ fields.

Sanders was projected to easily beat Hillary Clinton in the Democratic Party’s primary, winning 60 percent of the vote among Democratic primary voters to Clinton’s 38 percent with 89 percent of precincts reporting early Tuesday. Trump was taking 35 percent of the GOP vote with 89 percent of the precincts reporting, maintaining a double-digit lead over his competitors.

Several news outlets projected Ohio Gov. John Kasich to be the second-place finisher in the Republican primary. He was receiving 16 percent of the vote with 89 percent of precincts reporting, followed by a tight race between Sen. Ted Cruz (Tex.) with 11.6 percent, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush with 11.1 percent, and Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.) with 10.6 percent.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, businesswoman Carly Fiorina, and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson all were receiving single-digit support.

Clinton delivered remarks about an hour after the races were called during which she defended her commitment to enacting campaign finance reform and taking on Wall Street, issues on which Sanders has criticized her.

“You’re not going to find anybody more committed to aggressive campaign finance reform than me,” Clinton said at her headquarters in New Hampshire. “I will fight to rein in Wall Street and I know how to do it.”

She also acknowledged that she has “work to do” among young voters, a demographic that Sanders handedly won in both Iowa and New Hampshire.

Sanders delivered a victory speech shortly after Clinton’s remarks, thanking his opponent for calling to congratulate him before he launched into passionate attacks against current campaign finance law, Super PACs, and income inequality.

“Together, we have sent the message that will echo from Wall Street to Washington, from Maine to California. And that is that the government of our great country belongs to all of the people and not just a handful of wealthy campaign contributors and their Super PACs,” Sanders declared.

Sanders also solicited campaign contributions during his speech.

The Clinton campaign released a statement conceding the race as soon as the polls closed, in an apparent effort to minimize the importance of  the first-in-the-nation Democratic primary in New Hampshire.

“Whereas the electorates in Iowa and New Hampshire are largely rural/suburban and predominantly white, the March states better reflect the true diversity of the Democratic Party and the nation,” Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook said.

Sanders beat Clinton among nearly all demographic groups in New Hampshire, the New York Times reported, including women. Sanders won 55 percent support among female Democratic voters in the state to Clinton’s 44 percent, according to CNN.

Clinton did, however, win over voters above the age of 65 and those who belong to families making more than $200,000 or more annually.

Clinton’s campaign had been managing expectations Tuesday evening in preparation for the Democratic primary results in New Hampshire.

Polls leading up to the New Hampshire primary had Sanders besting Clinton by double digits in the state.

“Anything could happen, but Sen. Sanders has some special built-in advantages,” Mook said during an appearance on MSNBC Tuesday evening. “He’s from a border state. Since 1980, border states have always won the New Hampshire primary.”

“This is an uphill climb, but Hillary wanted to come in here, compete, give everything [she] has, and we’ll let the voters decide tonight,” Mook added.

During his own victory speech, Trump repeated his campaign pledges to build a wall at the southern border, repeal and replace Obamacare, rebuild the military, take care of America’s veterans, and reboot the economy.

“We are going to start winning again,” Trump said to chants from the crowd. “We are going to make America so great again, maybe greater than ever before.”

On the Republican side, focus has centered on Trump, who dominated polls of likely voters in New Hampshire for months leading up to the primary.

Early votes boded well, on a very small scale, for both Sanders and Kasich. The Vermont senator beat Clinton in Dixville Notch, the tiny New Hampshire community that votes just after midnight, 4 votes to 0. Kasich bested Trump there 3 to 2.

Hillary Clinton’s loss Tuesday could be followed by a staff shake-up at her campaign headquarters in Brooklyn, New York. Clinton pushed up a staff review after she nearly lost to Sanders during the Iowa Democratic caucus last week, according to a report in Politico.

The Democratic candidate and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, have taken issue with the campaign’s messaging and digital operations. The Clintons have reportedly focused their criticisms on Joel Benenson, the campaign’s senior strategist.

During an appearance on CNN earlier Tuesday, Benenson denied that there would be a staff shake-up but added that the campaign could make “some strategic adjustments.”

Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign, which was ultimately unsuccessful, underwent a shake-up when she began losing to then-Sen. Barack Obama.

Clinton beat Sanders by just over two-tenths of a percentage point in Iowa, a vote so close that pressure has mounted on the state party to audit the results after multiple discrepancies were reported.

Clinton’s narrow win in Iowa came as she continued to undergo scrutiny for her use of a private, unsecured email server to conduct sensitive government business while heading the State Department. Just days before the Iowa caucus, the Obama administration confirmed that nearly two dozen of Clinton’s emails contain top secret information, though it is not yet known whether the messages were classified when they originated on Clinton’s server.

It has been widely reported since last August that the FBI is investigating Clinton’s email setup. The agency formally confirmed the probe this month in a letter that was disclosed in a federal court filing Monday.

Clinton and Sanders will next compete for votes in the Nevada Democratic caucus on February 20, the same day as the GOP primary in New Hampshire. A survey conducted by Gravis Marketing in December indicated that Clinton was beating Sanders 50 percent to 27 percent there.

That poll was conducted months before the inspector general of the intelligence community disclosed in a letter to lawmakers that Clinton’s emails contained intelligence from the government’s most classified programs. Clinton has insisted that she never sent nor received classified information on her personal email.

Sanders’ support has expanded as voters have called into question Clinton’s honesty. Sanders has attacked Clinton for her ties to Wall Street but has largely avoided the controversy surrounding the former secretary of state’s emails.

Ahead of Tuesday’s primary, Trump enjoyed a sizeable lead over his Republican competitors in New Hampshire with 30 percent support, according to a Monmouth University poll of likely primary voters released Sunday. However, Kasich, Rubio, Bush, and Cruz all hovered just under 15 percent each in a tough fight for second place.

Christie, Carson, Fiorina, and former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore trailed further behind.

As of Sunday, less than half of Republican primary voters in the state said that they had made their minds up on their vote.

Focus on three candidates—Cruz, Trump, and Rubio—intensified after the Iowa Republican caucus last Monday. Cruz won that contest with 28 percent of the vote among Republicans, while Trump and Rubio followed close behind with 24 percent and 23 percent each, respectively.

Rubio in particular has weathered increased attacks from his fellow candidates in recent days after his unexpectedly strong third-place finish behind Trump, who national polls have for months indicated is the frontrunner for the nomination.

The Republican field has shrunk considerably since Iowa. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Sen. Rand Paul (Ky.), and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum have all suspended their presidential campaigns following the results last Monday.

The Republicans will proceed next to the Feb. 20 primary in South Carolina, where Trump held a double-digit lead over Cruz and Rubio as of last month, according to a NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll of likely primary voters in South Carolina.

Morgan Chalfant   Email Morgan | Full Bio | RSS
Morgan Chalfant is a reporter at the Washington Free Beacon. Prior to joining the Free Beacon, Morgan worked as a staff writer at Red Alert Politics. She also served as the year-long Collegiate Network fellow on the editorial page at USA TODAY from 2013-14. Morgan graduated from Boston College in 2013 with a B.A. in English and Mathematics. Her Twitter handle is @mchalfant16.

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