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Sanders, Trump declare victory in New Hampshire

By Ann Marie Awad   |   Updated Feb. 10, 2016 at 9:34 AM
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MANCHESTER, N.H., Feb. 9 (UPI) -- Donald Trump and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders won the first-in-the-nation primaries in New Hampshire on Tuesday night.

Trump led Republicans with 35 percent of the vote, with Ohio Gov. John Kasich coming in a surprising second with 16 percent. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas came in third with 12 percent, with former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush in fourth with 11 percent. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio came in fifth with 10.5 percent. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie came in sixth with 7.5 percent. Carly Fiorina got 4 percent and Ben Carson 2 percent. Former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore won less than 1 percent of the vote.

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Trump won 10 delegates; Kasich won three while Bush and Cruz won two each.

Among Democrats, Sanders beat out Clinton 60 percent to 38 percent, a more than 20-point difference, winning 13 delegates to Clinton's nine. The Washington Post reported Clinton conceded the state to Sanders shortly after polls closed.

Victory laps and next steps

"I want to take this opportunity, again, to congratulate Secretary Clinton and her organization and supporters for waging a vigorous campaign. I hope that in the days ahead we can continue to wage a strong issue-oriented campaign and bring new people into the political process," Sanders told supporters at his primary night celebration. "But I also hope that we all remember, and this is a message not just to our opponents, but to those who support me as well, that we will need to come together in a few months and unite this party and this nation because the right-wing Republicans we oppose must not be allowed to gain the presidency."

Looking ahead, Politico reported Sanders placed an ad buy in four Super Tuesday states: Minnesota, Colorado, Oklahoma and Massachusetts. The Los Angeles Times reported Sanders is the only major political ad buyer in Nevada, one of the two states to hold Democratic primaries in the coming weeks.

Despite conceding the Granite state to Sanders early in the night, the atmosphere at Clinton's primary party was hardly that of a second-place consolation celebration.

"I want to begin by congratulating Sen. Sanders on his victory tonight, and I want to thank each and every one of you. And I want to say, I still love New Hampshire, and I always will," she told the audience. "And here's what we're gonna do -- now we take this campaign to the entire country, we're going to fight for every vote in every state, we're going to fight for real solutions, that make a real difference in people's lives."

Earlier Tuesday, BuzzFeed reported Clinton hired Denise Horn as director of black media for her campaign, one of many signals that Clinton intends to bolster support among black and Hispanic voters in the South. Horn worked as a press aide at the U.S. Department of Education, and previously held a position at Facebook.

"The nomination will very likely be won in March, not February, and we believe that Hillary Clinton is well-positioned to build a strong -- potentially insurmountable -- delegate lead next month," Robby Mook, Clinton's campaign manager, told Bloomberg.

The New York Times reported Trump's victory was a landmark one. Since 2000, no single candidate has won the support of so many Republicans and Independents.

"I am going to be the greatest jobs president that God ever created," he told cheering supporters Tuesday night.

Kasich's second-place finish topped off weeks of dogged campaigning in the Granite state, hosting more than 100 town hall meetings.

"When the media kept saying, 'well, how are you going to do this? Can you finish high?' You know what I said?" he told supporters at his victory party in Concord, N.H. "I have an insurance policy. It's you."

At third place, Cruz called Trump to concede the state earlier in the evening, according to The Washington Post. However, that didn't stop him from calling the evening a victory of sorts.

"Thank you, New Hampshire, for tonight's results," he told an audience in Hollis, N.H. "Your victory tonight has left the Washington cartel utterly terrified."

Even Bush was celebrating something of a comeback.

"This campaign's not dead -- we're going on to South Carolina," Bush told a cheering crowd in Manchester, N.H.

But not all candidates were singing a happy tune after the results were tallied. Rubio, in an uncharacteristically bleak speech to supporters, blamed his performance in last weekend's debate for his weak showing.

"Our disappointment tonight is not on you -- it's on me," Rubio told supporters in Manchester, N.H. "I did not do well on Saturday night, so listen to this: That will never happen again."

Despite an earlier pledge to keep campaigning regardless of the results in New Hampshire, it looks like Christie may be taking a moment to reevaluate his campaign.

"In the coming days I will make the decision that is best for my family, my state, and my country," he told supporters after announcing he was canceling his upcoming campaign events in South Carolina to return to New Jersey to "take a deep breath."

Carson set out for South Carolina early Tuesday, missing his own primary party in New Hampshire. Fiorina, too headed to South Carolina, despite low numbers in New Hampshire.

How did each candidate shape up ahead of the primary?

RealClear Politics showed Trump polling on average well ahead of the rest of the Republican field at 31 percent going into the primary.

As for Sanders, he averaged 54 percent, 13 points ahead of Clinton.

After beating the Vermont senator by a narrow margin in Iowa last week, Clinton's camp braced for a loss in New Hampshire. CNN reported, though, that congressional Democrats are preparing to oppose Sanders in the coming weeks as the fight moves to South Carolina.

No other Republican candidate polled within 15 points of Trump. On average, Rubio polled at 14 percent. Despite his third place win in the Iowa caucuses, the Florida senator took some hits in New Hampshire after getting pummeled on the debate stage earlier in the month.

After Christie knocked Rubio for delivering repetitive remarks, the senator's events have been dogged by protesters dressed as robots holding signs with slogans like "Marco Roboto" and "Rubio Talking Points 3000."

Tuesday morning, Rubio supporters and campaign staff were involved in a physical altercation with the so-called "Rubiobots." A liberal group called Americans United for Change captured the scuffle on video and posted it to YouTube.

Kasich came close to tying Rubio with a polling average of 13 percent. Kasich, along with Sanders, won the primary contest in Dixville Notch, the first New Hamsphire town to go to the polls at midnight.

Cruz, who averaged at 11 percent, won the Iowa caucuses largely due to his aggressive campaign work with the state's evangelical voter base. However, where more than half of Iowa Republican voters are evangelical, exit polls showed they comprised a quarter of Republican voters in New Hampshire's primary.

Bush tied with Cruz in the Granite State, and may be gearing up for a comeback following a dismal showing in Iowa.

Christie polled at 5 percent, on average, after snubbing Iowa on caucus night and honing in on New Hampshire voters. Bush and Kasich did the same.

Fiorina cames in at 4 percent -- and after failing to make the cut for the last GOP debate Saturday.

Christie and Fiorina are not expected to make the cut for the next GOP debate this weekend. Much like the last ABC News debate, this Saturday's CBS News debate will not feature an undercard event.

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