WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump celebrated his victory in New Hampshire’s Republican primary on Twitter and complained that his win was overshadowed by the hotly contested Democratic election.
“The Fake News Media is looking hard for the Big Democrat Story, but there is nothing too fabulous,” Trump tweeted late Tuesday. “Wouldn’t a big story be that I got more New Hampshire Primary Votes than any incumbent president, in either party, in the history of that Great State? Not an insignificant fact!”
“Fake News @CNN and MSDNC have not surprisingly refused to talk about my record setting number of voters in New Hampshire (and in Iowa),” the president tweeted Wednesday, vowing to “win both states in November.”
Trump did receive more total votes than any previous incumbent with more than 120,000, while his lone national challenger, former Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld, got 12,993. But former President Ronald Reagan received a slightly higher percentage of the vote in 1984 as an incumbent seeking reelection with only a nominal challenge from a former Republican governor.
As a New Englander, Weld had hoped to secure as much as 20% of the vote in the northeastern state to give his campaign momentum, but his total came to 9.2%.
Trump campaigned more aggressively in the New Hampshire primary and Iowa caucuses than previous incumbents who did not face a major challenger or were running unopposed. The president sent top surrogates to both states and held rallies in them ahead of both elections.
The president’s efforts were primarily about building strength in New Hampshire ahead of the general election. Once considered a swing state, Trump narrowly lost New Hampshire to Hillary Clinton in 2016. But the state has only broken for the Republican once in the previous seven election cycles when George W. Bush won it in 2000.
– William Cummings
Sanders’ campaign defends narrow win in N.H.
MANCHESTER, N.H. – A top adviser for Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign pushed back at anyone criticizing the small margin of the senator’s victory in the New Hampshire Democratic primary on Tuesday.
Sanders, I-Vt., ended up winning by fewer than two percentage points even though he was polling with a double-digit lead in one poll as recently as last week.
“Folks will remember in the fall that, in fact, we were behind,” said Jeff Weaver, a senior adviser for the Sanders campaign, who was its campaign manager in 2016. “At one point, Elizabeth Warren was ahead here. There was polling that had Pete Buttigieg winning here. So I think, maybe you should ask those campaigns about why they had leads that did not materialize tonight.”
Sanders won New Hampshire by 22 percentage points in the 2016 New Hampshire Democratic primary against Hillary Clinton.
Weaver said most important was Sanders won the coalition of supporters he needs to beat Trump, pointing to working-class voters in place slice Manchester, young voters and the small number of minority communities in New Hampshire.
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“Bernie Sanders is putting together that coalition. He did it in Iowa. He did it here and now we’re going to go to Nevada and do it again,” Weaver said.
Some have speculated that Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s late rise in New Hampshire might have taken votes from the second-place finisher, former South Bend, Indian Mayor Pete Buttigieg, helping Sanders to victory.
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Weaver rejected that suggestion, saying he believes Klobuchar’s ascension was “stunted” in Iowa because she, like Sanders, had to spend time in Washington for President Donald Trump’s impeachment hearings. He said he respects the “grit” Klobuchar has shown by overcoming limited resources in the campaign.
“But I think at the end of the day people are looking for more transformative change, and I think that will be evident as we go down through the process.”
– Joey Garrison