February 11, 2020 at 11:17 pm EST | by Chris Johnson
Sanders wins, Klobuchar surprises in N.H. primary
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) had strong performances in the New Hampshire primary. (Washington Blade photos by Michael Key)

The big winner on Tuesday night in the New Hampshire primary was Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who pulled in a plurality of the votes in the Democratic primary, but Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) pulled off a surprising third place.

With 97 percent of precincts reporting, Sanders claimed 25.7 percent; Buttigieg was narrowly behind him with 24.4 percent of the vote, while Klobuchar won 19.8 percent.

Stephanie Taylor and Adam Green, co-founders of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, said in a joint statement Klobuchar’s third place demonstrates she has staying power as a presidential candidate.

“Amy Klobuchar had a stellar debate performance this week, she deserved a bounce this week, and she got one. Klobuchar finished 5th in her backyard and 3rd tonight, Warren has placed 4th and 3rd, and Biden now trails both women,” Taylor and Green said. “If media now start covering the women in this race as we head toward the big trove of delegates on Super Tuesday, that would be great.”

Pete Buttigieg ­— who pulled off a historic first in the Iowa caucuses by being the first openly gay candidate to win the most delegates in a state presidential nominating contest — also pulled off an impressive second place in New Hampshire.

Buttigieg, who was criticized for claiming victory early after the Iowa caucuses, was cordial in his speech Tuesday night.

“I admired Sen. Sanders when I was a high school student, and I want to congratulate him on his strong showing tonight,” Buttigieg said.

Continuing his trend of uplifting speeches, Buttigieg drew on Americans of all stripes, from Dreamers, to autoworkers displaced in the new economy to a young woman in a hijab enduring taunts because of her religion.

“That better future can be ours and that better future we are creating is not just a new chapter in American history, it is a new and better story in our everyday lives,” Buttigieg said. “That’s what’s at stake.”

Annise Parker, CEO of the LGBTQ Victory Fund, said Buttigieg’s second place shatters barriers for LGBTQ candidates everywhere.

“The electability assumptions of political pundits are tumbling down all around us,” Parker said.

New Hampshire State Rep. Gerri Cannon, who endorsed Buttigieg and is one of four openly transgender state legislators in the United States, said she’s “really pleased” with the candidate’s second place in her state.

“I know that there was strong support for Bernie in New Hampshire as a local New England candidate,” Cannon said. “Pete’s results demonstrate that our New Hampshire voters are ready to see a young candidate in the president’s office. We didn’t shy away from promoting Pete’s age as well as his background.”

Although Sanders got slightly more votes than Buttigieg, both candidates won an equal amount of delegates because the two obtained a similar percentage of the primary vote.

Finishing in an embarrassing fourth place was Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), who badly needed a strong showing in a state neighboring her own to continue forward. Finishing in fifth place was former Vice President Joseph Biden, although the upcoming primary in South Carolina, where he has polled strongly among black voters, will be the real test of his prospects.

Warren had 9.3 percent of the vote and Biden had 8.3 percent. Both Warren and Biden each received zero delegates in New Hampshire as a result of their standings in the primary.

Throwing in the towel in the presidential race after the New Hampshire primary was businessperson Andrew Yang and Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.).

Yang’s candidacy and his plan for a $1,000 a month “freedom dividend” made waves, but his candidacy didn’t attract as much support in Iowa or New Hampshire as other candidates. The candidate didn’t crack three percent in the New Hampshire primary.

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

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