Bernie Sanders Defeats Hillary Clinton In New Hampshire

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February 9, 2016 8:14 p.m.
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Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is the winner in the New Hampshire primary, besting former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. News networks called the race for Sanders as soon as all the polls closed at 8 p.m.

In his victory speech, Sanders declared his win in New Hampshire, coupled with his strong showing in Iowa, “nothing short of the beginning of a political revolution.”

“The people of New Hampshire have sent a profound message to the political establishment, to the economic establishment and to, by the way, the media establishment,” Sanders said. “What the people here have said is that, given the enormous crises facing our country, it is just too late for the same old, same old establishment politics and establishment economics. The people want real change.”

It’s no surprise Sanders won the state, where he had held a large lead in the polls for weeks. Sanders eclipsed Clinton in New Hampshire polls months ago. Going into election day, he was leading Clinton 55 percent to 40 percent in the TPM PollTracker Average.

In recent weeks, the Clinton campaign characterized his popularity in the state as being product of his representation of a neighboring state. But his victory is nonetheless a setback for Clinton, who scored an upset over then Sen. Barack Obama in the state in 2008’s presidential race. It also comes after Clinton was barely able to eke out a win in Iowa, where she had invested a heavy ground game, perhaps to the disadvantage of her campaign operation in New Hampshire

The pressure is now on Clinton to reassert control of the race in the next Democratic 2016 states, Feb. 20th’s Nevada caucus and the Feb. 27 South Carolina primary that follows. In those places, and in the Southern states that hold their primaries in March, the Clinton campaign has argued that relatively high portions of minority voters will bulwark her against Sanders’ momentum in the mostly white Iowa and New Hampshire.

“I know there are those who want to deny the passion and the purpose you all show every day for this campaign,” Clinton said in her concession speech Tuesday. “But you are the reason we are here and you are the reason we are going to win the nomination and then win this election together.”

The Clinton campaign circulated also a memo written by campaign manager Robby Mook almost immediately after the results were projected, stressing the importance of the March primary states, where a majority of the delegates needed to win the nomination are allotted. The memo argued Clinton, given the states’ demographics and her ground game, was well-positioned to sweep up the nomination then.

Early exit polls pointed to Sanders outperforming Clinton among voters 30 and younger. His campaign has had an appeal among the youth vote throughout much of the race, but recent comments by Clinton surrogates Gloria Steinem and Madeleine Albright scolding young women for favoring Sanders further antagonized her relationship with young people.

Exit polls also suggested a larger portion of “liberal voters” in this primary than in 2008, when Clinton was victorious.

In the days leading up to the primary, the Clinton campaign amped up its attacks on Sanders. Her husband, former President Bill Clinton, slammed him in recent speeches, while Clinton sharpened her criticisms of Sanders in last week’s debate. The efforts, however, were not enough to overcome Sanders’ overwhelming lead in the state.

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