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New Hampshire Primary Ends as Yang Drops Presidential Bid

As the second primary came to a close on Wednesday, voters were met with another close race. Though Senator Sanders won the popular vote with 25.7%, he actually tied in delegates with South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg. Both candidates received 9 delegates. Sanders officially declared victory on Tuesday night by saying “Let me thank the people of New Hampshire for the great victory tonight” according to Aljazeera. In total delegates, the amount needed to win the nomination, Sanders in trailing Buttigieg by 1. From top-down the candidates are ranked as such: Buttigieg with 22 delegates, Sanders with 21, Senator Warren with 8 delegates, Senator Klobuchar with 7 delegates, and lastly Former Vice President Biden with 6.

This is the second primary where the leading candidates finished extremely close together and a candidate prematurely declared victory. From a national perspective, Sanders declaring victory added only more confusion to an already frustrating primary. In Iowa, both Sanders and Buttigieg declared victory before the majority of the precincts reported while in New Hampshire, Sanders declared victory with less than 86% of the precincts reporting. In both cases, Sanders appears to have miscalculated having lost in Iowa and now tying with Buttigieg in New Hampshire. Despite the closeness, Buttigieg reportedly congratulated Sanders by saying, “I respect him greatly to this day, and I congratulate him on his strong showing tonight.” according to The Hill

What voters perhaps did not expect was how popular Klobuchar would be among New Hampshire voters. Winning 19.8% of the vote and 6 delegates, she outperformed both Warren and Biden by large margins. Both Warren and Biden did not meet the 15% threshold required to receive delegates. Klobuchar won major victories in rural precincts where Buttigieg found the majority of his support. Klobuchar and Buttigieg effectively split the rural vote considerably.

With this being the second of many primary rounds it is still too early to announce an obvious front runner. What is clear though, is that Sanders and Buttigieg are both poised to fight for that position in the coming weeks. The next primary is in Nevada followed by South Carolina. Nevada’s delegates went to Hillary Clinton in 2016 as she narrowly beat President Trump by 2%. Contradictory, South Carolina went red in 2016 with Trump winning 54% of the vote there. Each state provides advantages to a different candidate. With Sanders polling ahead of the field in Nevada at 23%, according to the FiveThirtyEight polling service, he is likely to have a strong showing there. In South Carolina, it is actually the former Vice President that is currently polling ahead at 27%. With Biden’s poor showings in New Hampshire and Iowa, his supporters might funnel into Buttigieg or Klobuchar who are both ahead of Biden in delegates.

After those two primaries, 14 other states will hold their primaries simultaneously on March 3rd. With those completed, it will be much easier to identify a front runner. For that reason, it is important for candidates to perform well in Nevada and South Carolina. They will not have the luxury of having a full week to campaign in each state so will have to depend on their political reputations and the momentum they garner from these first four competitions.

Amid all the confusion and victory speeches, Andrew Yang who founded Venture for America dropped out of the presidential race on February 11th. What many viewed as a “long-shot” bid for the presidency “persisted well beyond expectations” according to The New York Times. Yang’s campaign was centered on his universal basic income policy in which all citizens would be guaranteed one thousand dollars of income per month. Yang did participate in the New Hampshire primary debate but only received 2.8% of the popular vote, which is well short of the required 15% needed to receive delegates. The effect Yang’s departure will have on the already packed field will likely be minimal as his voter base was extremely small. Though most of his most avid supporters reported that they voted for Sanders in 2016, analysts conclude that “no candidate is likely to be significantly helped by his exit.”

Sources: Aljazeera, The Hill, FiveThirtyEight

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