Kasich scores in NH as Trump, Sanders cruise to wins
By NBP Staff | February 9, 2016, 22:52 EDT
MANCHESTER, N.H. — While the Republican and Democratic winners of the first-in-the-nation presidential primary came as no surprise on Tuesday, voters for GOP contenders vaulted Ohio Gov. John Kasich out of relative obscurity into second place while deflating the momentum of both Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz coming out of last week’s Iowa caucuses.
New York billionaire Donald Trump was declared the winner of the Republican voting within a minute of polls closing in New Hampshire, while Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders swept to victory on the Democratic side, adding credibility to the campaigns of both. Opinion polls heading into election day projected strong wins for both. Exit surveys of voters showed deep dissatisfaction with the federal government and politics as usual among supporters of both upstart candidates.
About 90 percent of Republican voters voiced dissatisfaction with Washington, including 40 percent said they were downright angry about the way the federal government is run, according to cable news network CNN. Its said half of GOP voters feel betrayed by leaders of their party of choice.
Trump staked his campaign from the start on his status as a Washington outsider willing to shake up the establishment with controversial policies like banning Muslim immigrants and walling off the Mexican-American border. Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist who won his Senate seat as an independent has claimed a similar outsider’s position while advocating higher taxes on the wealthy and Wall Street traders, free college educations and elimination of student loans.
Trump, who narrowly lost the Iowa caucuses to Cruz on Feb. 1, thanked his Granite State supporters for making him a winner and renewed his pledge to shake up the status quo if he reaches the White House.
“We are going to do something so good and so fast and so strong and the world is going to respect us again. Believe me,” Trump said to supporters at a victory party in Manchester, New Hampshire, the Associated Press reported. Should he win the presidency, Trump said, America will “start winning again.”
Kasich, as he has throughout his campaign, remained focused on the positive. “The light overcome the darkness of negative campaigning,” he told supporters in Concord, according to USA Today.
Although he won a last-minute endorsement from Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who trailed the leaders with 7 percent of the vote, returned to Trenton to ponder his next steps, CNN reported. The network said Christie had canceled events in South Carolina, site of the next GOP primary on Feb. 20. Both AP and Politico.com said he plans to quit the race later Wednesday.
Rubio’s stiff performance in the last Republican debate on Saturday may have done serious damage to the Florida senator, as almost half of GOP voters said they made up their minds on who to back within the past few days, CNN reported. The Florida senator, who finished with surprising strength in Iowa, trailed Cruz, the Texas senator, and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush with 98 percent of the vote counted, according to WMUR-TV in Manchester.
“I was disappointed,” Rubio said at a gathering of his supporters after the polls closed Tuesday. He said he blamed himself. “I did not do well on Saturday night, now listen to this: that will never happen again.”
Among Democrats, Sanders’ widely expected win may have been driven largely by concerns about fairness in the U.S. economy and its health. CNN exit polling showed that about 90 percent of Democratic voters believe the American economic system favors wealthy people and about 75 percent worry about the future of the economy.
In the Bush camp, spokesman Tim Miller dismissed Kasich’s strong showing, saying the former congressman was a one-trick pony of sorts, the Associated Press reported. He said the governor “ran a one-state campaign” that lacks viability beyond the Granite State. Kasich campaign operatives said they hoped his second-place finish would open a spigot of cash from new donors.
Among other Republican contenders, Dr. Ben Carson left the state before the polls closed, reportedly to hit the campaign trail in South Carolina. Carson trailed the field with 2 percent of the vote.
Carly Fiorina, the former Hewlett Packard chief, was only beating Carson, scoring about 4 percent of the vote with 98 percent of the precincts counted. “I’m not going to sit down and be quiet, and neither are you,” she told supporters in Manchester, AP said.
Sanders, in his victory speech in Derry, proclaimed the vote as a message to the nation.
“Together we have sent the message that will echo from Wall Street to Washington, from Maine to California, and that is that the government of our great country belongs to all of the people and not just a handful of wealthy campaign contributors,” Sanders said. He pointed to the millions of donations that have flowed into his campaign that have averaged about $25.
The Vermonter said the vote showed that people in New Hampshire “understand that this country needs a political revolution.”
Sanders told his supporters that his next stop would be New York, where according to AP he met with the Rev. Al Sharpton over breakfast Wednesday at Sylvia’s Restaurant in Harlem.
“I think it is very important that he sent the signal that on the morning after a historic victory,” Sharpton said, that “he would come to Harlem and have breakfast with me.” He said the two men talked about affirmative action, police brutality and the water disaster in Flint, Michigan.
The longtime black activist and talk show host also said he and various heads of national civil rights organizations plan to meet with Clinton next week.
“A Democrat who is unable to inspire strong levels of support in minority communities will have no credible path to winning the presidency in the general election,” Robby Mook, Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager said in a memo, according to AP.
Clinton, who scored a come-from-behind win in New Hampshire’s presidential sweepstakes in 2008, remained unbowed by the pounding from Sanders, who beat her by 22 percentage points, according to WMUR.
“We’re going to fight for every vote in every state,” Clinton told a cheering crowd in Manchester Tuesday night. “People have every right to be angry. But they’re also hungry, they’re hungry for solutions.”
“I will work harder than anyone to actually make the changes that make your lives better,” Clinton said, according to Reuters.