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Key Takeaways From the New Hampshire Primary

'Stunning' collapse for Warren, Biden
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 12, 2020 6:15 AM CST
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Amy Klobuchar speaks at her election night party, Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020, in Concord, NH.   (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)
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(Newser) – As pollsters predicted, Bernie Sanders has won the New Hampshire primary for the second time in a row, giving him the first clear win of the primary season after the chaos in Iowa last week. But while Sanders' win may have been expected, the other New Hampshire results have shaken up the race: Pete Buttigieg was a close second, while Amy Klobuchar surged to third place, leaving former frontrunners Elizabeth Warren and Joe Biden in fourth and fifth place. Sanders and Buttigieg will be awarded nine delegates each. Klobuchar gets six and Warren and Biden will leave the state with zero. Andrew Yang and Michael Benet withdrew from the race after disappointing results Tuesday, while others, including Tom Steyer, failed to make much of an impact. Some takeaways:

  • "Winning is winning." Sanders is now the clear frontrunner, although he won New Hampshire with only around 27% of the vote, which is a record low, Lisa Lerer and Shane Goldmacher write at the New York Times. "But winning is winning and the moderate ledger of the Democratic primary is as fractured as ever—to Mr. Sanders’s great advantage," they write.

  • Klobuchar gains momentum. The senator from Minnesota had long been considered an also-ran, but a strong debate performance Friday and a shift in her direction from voters undecided until the last minute gave her "legitimate and instant momentum," Aaron Blake writes at the Washington Post. "New Hampshire should at least give her a platform in this race in the weeks ahead, which isn’t a complete given for the candidates who failed to nab a top-three spot," he writes.
  • Buttigieg looks ahead. Buttigieg also has momentum after his impressive delegate win in Iowa and second-place finish in New Hampshire, writes Lauren Gambino at the Guardian. "With a higher national profile and a more robust fundraising operation, Buttigieg is perhaps better poised to capitalize on the momentum out of the early state contests," she writes. "But he has failed to prove he can win support from black and Latino voters that will be critical in the days to come."
  • Biden's time could be up. Biden predicted he would lose in New Hampshire and left the state before results came out. While Biden's supporters believe his "firewall" in South Carolina will save his candidacy, there is no question that a fifth-place finish, which followed a poor result in Iowa, is not a good sign for a candidate who campaigns on his electability, Niall Stanage writes at the Hill. "There are signs Biden’s standing with the African-American community is declining," he writes. "If that happens, it’s likely game over for the former vice president."
  • Warren's "stunning" collapse. Ryan Lizza at Politico considers Warren's collapse even more stunning than that of Biden, since on paper New Hampshire seemed to be very favorable territory. But Lizza isn't writing her off yet: He notes that she has a strong fundraising and organizational operation, as well as strong favorability ratings, which "might all be resurrected if voters fail to consolidate around one of her opponents and return to her."
  • Bloomberg has a chance. Michael Bloomberg's decision to skip the first four states and focus on Super Tuesday was a gamble, but it might be paying off, Stanage notes at the Hill. "Bloomberg’s only real chance has always involved Sanders emerging as the front-runner, moderates taking fright about his chances against Trump, and no one else claiming the centrist mantle," he writes. "That's exactly what seems to be happening."
(Read more New Hampshire primary stories.)

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