Democrats vying for the right to challenge U.S. President Donald Trump turned their focus on Wednesday to Nevada and South Carolina after Bernie Sanders solidified his front-runner status by narrowly beating Pete Buttigieg in New Hampshire, Reuters informs.
While Sanders, a progressive senator from neighboring Vermont, and Buttigieg, a moderate former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, finished first and second in Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary, the contest also showed the growing appeal of centrist Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, who placed third after surging over the past few days.
Two Democrats whose fortunes have been fading, progressive Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and former Vice President Joe Biden- who was once the front-runner in the race- limped out of New Hampshire, finishing fourth and fifth respectively amid fresh questions about the viability of their candidacies.
New Hampshire was the second contest in the state-by-state battle to pick a Democratic nominee to face Trump, a Republican, in the Nov. 3 election. Sanders and Buttigieg finished in a virtual tie in the first contest last week in Iowa and in New Hampshire won an equal number of delegates – who formally vote at the party’s convention in July to select a nominee.
More than 294,000 voters cast ballots in New Hampshire’s Democratic primary, the state party said, breaking the record of 288,000 set in 2008, when Barack Obama’s historic candidacy energized the party.
Noting the turnout, Sanders said in a statement on Wednesday: “Our campaign is successfully reaching out to working people, young people, communities of color and all those who believe in a government of compassion and justice. This is the coalition that wins elections.”
But many mainstream Democrats worry that the unapologetically liberal Sanders would lose a matchup with Trump, Reuters points out.
The New Hampshire vote came on the heels of a chaotic effort to count the votes of caucus-goers in Iowa that slowed the momentum of the leading candidates and led on Wednesday to the resignation of Iowa Democratic Party Chair Troy Price.
Problems with an app used by the party to tabulate voter choices plunged the first-in-the-nation nominating contest into disarray, with the results not known for days and an anticipated rechecking of the results in numerous precincts.