MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) — Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders powered to victory in the New Hampshire primary Tuesday, avenging their Iowa losses to keep the mad scramble of the 2016 presidential campaign alive with dozens of contests to come.
Sanders, the independent socialist senator challenging Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton, and Trump, the political neophyte, billionaire and provocateur of the Republican race, tapped New Hampshire’s occasional indulgence in political insurgencies to prevail in the nation’s second election for the nomination.
Together they are would-be slayers of the political establishment, and a loss for either one would have been potentially devastating to their hopes.
As it is, Sanders, from Vermont, moves on to tougher territory in South Carolina, where Clinton has been favored and where a racially diverse population serves up an electorate that looks more like America than rural, small-town and mostly white Iowa and New Hampshire.
Trump, too, will be tested on whether he can run a truly national campaign, despite preference polls that find him on top, and whether he can unleash the organizational skills needed to slog toward the nomination state by state.
A look at the New Hampshire primary:
Marco Rubio, John Kasich, Jeb Bush and Chris Christie struggled over who among them could consolidate the support of moderate or establishment-minded Republicans and rise up to be the prime challenger to Trump and Cruz, winner of the Iowa caucuses.
Until his famously flustered debate performance, Rubio was seen as the man on the move, probably not able to defeat Trump in New Hampshire but with a strong chance to outdistance other rivals and perhaps drive some from the race.
Among Democrats, Clinton’s 2008 win in New Hampshire set her back on course after a dispiriting third-place finish in the Iowa caucuses, won by Barack Obama on his way to the presidency.
This time, she fell short in New Hampshire after an unsatisfying hair’s-breadth win in Iowa.
Early exit polls indicated that New Hampshire voters might be growing more polarized. On Tuesday, three-quarters of voters in the Republican primary said they were conservative, up from just over half in 2012, and two-thirds of Democratic voters called themselves liberal, up from 56 percent in 2008.
The surveys at voting places, conducted by Edison Research for the Associated Press and TV networks, also suggested that nearly half of Republican voters made up their minds in the past week.
Among them, John Starer, 72, of Bedford, a Republican who owns a company that makes glue sticks, ruled out Marco Rubio as too inexperienced — “maybe next time” — and decided five minutes before voting that he would go with Ted Cruz over Trump. “I’d like to think Trump had a chance,” he said, meaning a chance to beat the Democratic nominee in the general election, “but no.”
Nicole Reitano, a 24-year-old embroiderer from Nashua, briefly considered Clinton before voting for Sanders. “I felt like he was the most honest,” Reitano said. “He’s had the same views forever, and he’s never budged. That makes me feel confident in him.”
CAMPAIGN IN TRANSITION
The close-up campaigning in coffee shops and gyms in far-flung snowy expanses shifts now to bigger states, where those who come out of New Hampshire intact will need the advertising muscle and organizational strength to score big, fast and increasingly at a national level.
FLASHBACK TO ’92
A Republican insurgency rooted in populist anger, flavored with tough talk about immigration. Sound familiar?
In 1992 the insurgent was Pat Buchanan, a conservative commentator then and now. He captured economic angst and disaffection with the status quo to mount an extraordinary challenge to a sitting president in an incumbent primary that normally would have seen no contest. Buchanan posted a strong finish behind President George H.W. Bush, Jeb’s dad. Buchanan dragged the primary contest on for several months before dropping out.
He took on the establishment again in 1996, winning in New Hampshire and declaring “the peasants are coming with pitchforks.” But the establishment — Bob Dole — won the nomination.
In that unsettled time, Bill Clinton was “the man from Hope,” his Arkansas hometown and his siren call to the nation. A fresh face, though hardly an outsider, the longtime Arkansas governor already had baggage — questions swirling about his behavior with women and his history with the military draft. But he powered to a “comeback kid” second-place finish against Paul Tsongas from neighboring Massachusetts, showing his campaign had resilience and reach after a poor finish in Iowa. He won the nomination and the White House.