MANCHESTER, N.H. — Bernie Sanders squeaked out a win in New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation primary, holding off surging moderates Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar to win the Granite State’s Democratic contest on the strength of his fervent base.
“Let me take this opportunity to thank the people of New Hampshire for a great victory tonight,” Sanders, the Independent senator from Vermont, told thunderously roaring supporters in Manchester on Tuesday night. “This victory here is the beginning of the end for Donald Trump.”
Sanders edged out former South Bend Mayor Buttigieg and Minnesota U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar to claim victory in the influential New Hampshire primary.
Sanders told supporters, “We have a grassroots movement from coast to coast with millions of people … We are putting together an unprecedented multigenerational multiracial political movement.”
Sanders is leading in increasingly more polls nationally, especially as previous front-runner former Vice President Joe Biden drops in recent days. Polling aggregators Real Clear Politics and FiveThirtyEight both have Sanders on top of the race after Sanders and former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, essentially split a victory in the chaotic Iowa caucuses.
The narrow margin is much slimmer than Sanders’ 2016 New Hampshire victory, when he trounced former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton by 22 percentage points in New Hampshire, even though Clinton ended up winning the nomination.
Neil Holbert, who’d just cast his vote for Sanders in New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation primary, cited the senator’s stances in favor of universal health care and taxing the rich, saying of Sanders, “He’s fighting for the working-class people.”
“He’s been my first choice since last time,” said the Manchester Democrat.: “He’s been the best choice all along, and he got screwed last time.”
Political independent Genara Clay, standing in a line of Sanders supporters outside, said, “I’ve been with Bernie since 2015 — I’ve never wavered. He’s changed my whole life.”
Clay said she believes Sanders can expand beyond his current fervent base of supporters as the race heads to more diverse states.
“He has the people, he has the money, he has the volunteers,” Clay said. “This is the revolution, and people will feel that.”
Emily Norton and her parents, Steve and Jeanne, all switched from U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren.
“People will stop fearing the ‘democratic socialist’ label,” said Emily, referring to how Sanders identifies his lefty politics. She said Sanders’ health care plan is more specific than Warren’s, and she didn’t like when Warren accused Sanders’ campaign of sexism.
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