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The polls for the Democratic primary race in New Hampshire closed Tuesday evening. Both the public and the candidates themselves are looking for some clarity on the state of the race following a caucus vote in Iowa last week marred by inconsistencies and confusion.
In Iowa, Pete Buttigieg, a former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, and Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, a leader of the progressive movement, won the most support. Both candidates, including others like Amy Klobuchar and Elizabeth Warren, came to New Hampshire hoping to win and gain momentum going into the other states.
The Democratic primary race is still early. While a lot could alter the trajectory of the race, a win in New Hampshire could spark the emergence of a frontrunner. But with the final numbers still trickling in, it was clear that Senator Bernie Sanders would win the state, with former mayor Pete Buttigieg close on his heels.
Exit polling suggests that Democratic voters in the state are looking, first and foremost, for a candidate who can beat Donald Trump in November.
Voters continue to seem divided as to their preferred candidate, with Sanders and Buttigieg once again coming out as the top vote-getters, followed in third place by a resurgent Amy Klobuchar.
Uncertainty in the race
In the run up to New Hampshire, the mood surrounding the race has been anxious. Many democrats want to end the Trump presidency but fear a messy race for the Democratic nomination could disrupt those efforts.
According to Jim Demers, a veteran Democratic strategist, Trump is not far from the minds of primary voters.
“For a year now, people have been saying that they’ll vote for the candidate they believe has the best chance of beating Trump, and now that the impeachment process is finished and he was acquitted, people are even more anxious about getting this right.”
“For most voters, they think the candidates are close enough on the issues that it’s become about who has the best chance of winning. That’s what is front and center on everyone’s minds,” he added.
Yang drops out
Businessman Andrew Yang dropped out shortly after the polls closed in New Hampshire. Results show that Yang appears headed towards a likely 8th place finish.
The race ahead
The next two primaries will take place in February. On February 22, Nevada will hold a vote followed by South Carolina’s primary on February 29. Meanwhile, candidates continue to jockey for position in the race.
March 3, 2020 will be a decisive day for Democrats. Nearly a third of the delegates for the Democratic primary will be awarded from a total of 14 states, including Texas and California. It’s a day known in American politics as “Super Tuesday”.