Clinton, McCain Win New Hampshire Primaries
(APN) ATLANTA — US Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) became the new comeback kid by parlaying a third place finish in the Iowa Caucuses into a New Hampshire win in the nation’s first Primary Election on Tuesday. On the Republican side, US Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) also breathed new life into his campaign by coming in first.
Despite what the experts said and despite trailing far behind in the days leading up to the vote, Clinton was able to sneak past surging US Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL).
“I come tonight with a very, very full heart, and I want especially to thank New Hampshire. Over the last week, I listened to you, and in the process I found my own voice,” Clinton told cheering supporters.
“I felt like we all spoke from our hearts and I’m so gratified that you responded. Now together, let’s give America the kind of comeback New Hampshire has just given me,” Clinton said.
Clinton appeared to be referring in part to a discussion with New Hampshire voters in which she had an emotional moment yesterday, describing why she campaigns even though it is difficult.
“It’s not easy. And I couldn’t do if I just didn’t passionately believe it was the right thing to do. You know, I have so many opportunities from this country. I just don’t want to see us fall backwards, so…” she said, her voice cracking and sounding as if she were on the verge of tears.
Clinton’s win was surprising, given the fact several polls cited in the days after the Iowa Caucus had shown Obama had taken the lead right after he won first in Iowa.
Clinton received 39% of the votes with 96% of precincts reporting. Obama received 37% and Edwards 17%.
McCain cruised to an easy victory but he had to overcome internal campaign staff and fundraising issues to do it.
“Tonight we sure showed ’em what a comeback looks like,” McCain said. “When the pundits declared us finished, I told them I’m going to New Hampshire where voters don’t let you make the decisions for them.”
Independent voters, who make up over 40 percent of the state’s electorate, played an important role. McCain not only had to overcome Republican rivals, but also had to compete for independent votes with Obama.
Obama received heavy support from independents, winning more votes from those than registered Democrats.
McCain also enjoyed strong support from independents, who voted for him in almost as much as registered Republicans.
“I didn’t go to Washington to play along, to get along,” McCain said. “I didn’t go to Washington to play it safe. I went there to serve my country.”
Women appeared to play a key role in the election outcome; they delivered their votes to Clinton by a remarkable 13 percent margin over Obama.
Despite his second place finish, Obama remains optimistic about his chances, telling his supporters “yes we can.”
“I am still fired up and ready to go,” he said. “A few weeks ago, no one imagined we’d accomplish what we accomplished here tonight.”
Wins by Clinton and McCain in New Hampshire mean the race for the nomination in both parties is wide open. Each Primary carries significance for all candidates still in the race.
Former US Sen. John Edwards (D-NC) finished a distant third but reminded supporters that this race is far from over.
“Up until now, about half of one percent of the people in this country have voted,” Edwards said. “Those [other] 99 percent deserve to have their voices heard.”
Edwards reiterated he will continue to fight for those who are forgotten.
“We’ve had too many Americans whose voices have not been heard in this Democracy,” he said. “That’s what this battle is about. It is not about me. It’s about the cause of giving a voice to those who have not had their voices heard.”
“I am in this race to the Convention,” Edwards added. “I intend to be the nominee of my party.”
Former Gov. Bill Richardson (D-NM) finished fourth with 5%; US Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) finished fifth with 1%.
Former Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA) again finished a disappointing and distant second after winning the Wyoming Caucus earlier this week.
Romney vowed to press on during remarks to supporters and continued to portray himself as the Washington outsider.
However, Romney currently has the lead in the amount of Republican delegates, having come in second in both races; whereas, Huckabee and McCain have taken turns finishing first in one race and third in the other.
“I believe it’s time to send somebody to Washington who will actually get the job done,” he said. “I don’t think it’s going to get done by Washington insiders.”
After winning Iowa, former Gov. Mike Huckabee (R-AR) finished third in New Hampshire, a stronger showing than his campaign had expected.
“A few weeks ago, we were back in not-so-much-sixth place,” he told supporters. “And many thought we wouldn’t be contenders in New Hampshire.”
“Tonight you’ve given us so much more than we ever could have imagined six weeks ago,” he added. “What you helped us continue will carry right on through.”
Up next is the January 15, 2008, Michigan primary, a State penalized by both parties for moving its Primary to an earlier date.
In a controversial move, the Democratic Party will not allow Michigan to seat any delegates at the national convention in August.
Obama, Edwards, and Richardson are not even on the ballot in Michigan and that Primary could carry more significance for Republican nominees.
Nevada will hold its Caucuses January 19, 2008, the same day of the Republican primary in South Carolina.
Florida, another state penalized for moving up its Primary date, holds its Primary Election on January 29, 2008, the same day as the Democratic Primary in South Carolina, a state Edwards won in 2004 on his way to a Vice Presidential nomination.
But all paths lead to February 5, 2008, a day that will see 22 State Primaries, including Georgia’s. Super Duper Tuesday, as some analysts have dubbed it, will be the biggest day of the nominating season and could ultimately make or break several candidacies.
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