Bernie Sanders’s narrow win in New Hampshire makes him the undisputed leader of the Democratic Party’s left flank, with a second powerful showing that puts him in position to stake a claim to the Democratic presidential nomination as the race turns west and south.
A surprisingly strong third-place showing from Amy Klobuchar in New Hampshire further scrambles the race and the efforts by moderate Democrats to unite behind a candidate to stop Sanders, only strengthening the hand of the 78-year-old democratic socialist.
Klobuchar’s rise shows that moderate Democratic voters weren’t completely sold on their other choice, Pete Buttigieg, who had hoped that his Iowa win would crown him the candidate to beat Sanders. Buttigieg lost New Hampshire by about 4,000 votes.
With 87% of precincts reporting, Sanders had won 25.7% of the vote, to Buttigieg’s 24.4%. Klobuchar was third with 19.8% and Elizabeth Warren and Joe Biden trailed in single digits.
Centrist voters could further splinter as yet a third moderate formally joins the race: former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who didn’t compete in New Hampshire but will be on the ballot for the March 3 Super Tuesday contests.
The clarity on the left contrasts with confusion among moderates and seems sure to reinvigorate efforts by the Democratic Party establishment to find a way to derail Sanders before it’s too late. Sanders replicated his 2016 win in New Hampshire over Hillary Clinton by tapping into younger voters and expanding the pool of Democrats — which he says would allow him to beat President Donald Trump.
“It’s on to Nevada, it’s on to South Carolina, it’s on to win the Democratic nomination, and together I have no doubt that we will defeat Donald Trump,” Sanders told cheering supporters in Manchester, New Hampshire, as he claimed victory.