Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders has an early lead in the New Hampshire Democratic primary, the first primary of the 2020 presidential race.
The first returns give Sanders 28% of the vote, followed by former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg with 23%. Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar is coming in a surprising third with 21%, bouncing back from a poor showing in the Iowa caucuses, and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren has 10%.
The rest of the field trail the top four candidates in single digits.
Entrepreneur Andrew Yang, who is at the bottom of the pack with just 3% in the early going, plans to drop out of the race, his campaign announced.
Colorado Senator Michael Bennet also ended his bid for the presidency Tuesday in New Hampshire.
If the results hold up, Sanders could solidify his front-runner status, but would have two popular centrists close behind. Many political analysts question whether a self-avowed democratic socialist like Sanders could unseat Republican President Donald Trump, who has repeatedly lashed out at Sanders’ socialist policies, which include a Medicare-for-All universal health care program.
Sanders and Buttigieg entered New Hampshire tied as the front-runners in the wake of last week’s muddled Iowa caucuses, in which Buttigieg narrowly won the most delegates while Sanders narrowly won the popular vote.
Some analysts forecast there could be a number of write-in votes for former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Bloomberg was not on the ballot in New Hampshire, preferring to concentrate on other states that will be up for grabs in the coming month. But Bloomberg has become a recent target of Trump’s criticism — a sign that he is starting to draw attention in a crowded field.
Former Vice President Joe Biden is currently in fifth place in New Hampshire, with about 9%. He left New Hampshire for South Carolina before the election results were in.
Biden finished a poor fourth in Iowa last week after being touted as the front-runner long before he declared his candidacy.
This is Biden’s third try for the White House. Despite his long experience as a senator and vice president under President Barack Obama, he has failed to stand out in a field that includes women, a democratic socialist, billionaire entrepreneurs, a young Asian American — Yang — and the first openly gay Democratic Party presidential candidate, Buttigieg.
The New Hampshire winner could gain an edge in the next two Democratic contests, in Nevada and South Carolina, which are scheduled for Feb. 20 and Feb. 29, respecitvely, ahead of 14 states voting on “Super Tuesday” March 3.
Meanwhile, Trump staged a Monday night rally for his supporters in snow-covered New Hampshire where he criticized the Democratic field.
“They’re all fighting each other. They’re all going after each other,” Trump said. “They don’t know what they’re doing.”
Trump easily won the Republican primary in New Hampshire Tuesday with early returns giving him more than 86% against former Massachusetts Governor William Weld, at 8%.