Trump, Sanders win big in N.H.

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Bernie Sanders (left) and Donald Trump were the winners Tuesday in New Hampshire.

HOOKSETT, N.H. - Sen. Bernie Sanders and real estate developer Donald Trump won the Democratic and Republican presidential primaries in New Hampshire on Tuesday, a triumph for two outsiders who channeled voter anger at both political parties' establishments.

Despite some glaring differences of ideology, the candidates share opposition to trade deals and a belief in the corruption of Washington and special-interest money in politics.

Trump, with his nationalistic vows to crack down on illegal immigration and to "make America great again," had led the GOP race here since he got in in the summer. Ohio Gov. John Kasich was on track to finish second.

On the Democratic side, Sanders, a self-described "democratic socialist" from Vermont, crushed former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who conceded to her rival as the polls closed.

Sanders built a movement with scathing attacks on the power of Wall Street and calls for universal government-run health care, free tuition to public colleges, and paid family leave.

"Together, we have sent a message that will echo from Wall Street to Washington and from Maine to California, that the government of this great nation belongs to all of the people and not just a handful of wealthy campaign contributors," Sanders said.

Exit polls showed Sanders carried 83 percent of voters between 18 and 29 years of age and 55 percent of women overall. He also beat Clinton by 72 percent to 27 percent among independents who voted in the Democratic primary.

"Now we take this campaign to every state in the country," Clinton told her supporters. She spoke of "ending the barriers of bigotry," and acknowledged she had work to do to reach young voters.

"People have every right to be angry, but they're also hungry; they're hungry for solutions," she said. "I will work harder than anyone to actually make the changes that make your lives better."

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who won last week's Republican caucuses in Iowa; former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush; and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio were bunched together behind Kasich in the GOP contest.

"We are going to make America great again," Trump told a raucous group of supporters, vowing to best foreign economic competitors and to rebuild the military. "The world is going to respect us again."

Momentum

Trump's decisive victory could restore some momentum to his campaign after a disappointing second-place finish in Iowa. As a primary state, New Hampshire does not put the same premium on a sophisticated ground organization, and the evangelical voters who fueled Cruz's victory in Iowa are not as big a factor in the state.

Kasich was also hoping to build on his showing. "There's magic in the air in this campaign," he said Tuesday night.

He eschewed the cross-fire of attacks that consumed some of his rivals, and called his campaign "a chance to be involved in something bigger than ourselves - to change America, to restore America, to re-shine America, and to leave no one behind."

More than a half-million New Hampshire voters - projected to be a record - stomped through snowbanks and inched over ice patches to cast ballots.

The main fight on the Republican side was for the chance to emerge as the chief alternative to Trump and Cruz. Some leaders and donors in the party's more moderate, pro-business factions are worried about their ascendance and want to coalesce around a candidate they feel would be more electable in November.

Rubio seemed poised to be that candidate after a strong third-place finish in Iowa, but he was struggling to recover from a shaky debate performance Saturday night. Gov. Christie also had staked his campaign on New Hampshire.

Takedown

During the debate, the Florida senator wavered under a barrage of attacks, mostly from Christie, for repeating over and over the same lines from his canned stump speech. Christie and others said the performance showed Rubio was not prepared to be president.

Still, Christie did not appear to benefit personally from his takedown of Rubio. He was running sixth out of eight candidates, with about 70 percent of the returns counted.

It was not a delegate-rich contest, with just 23 at stake on the Republican side, out of 1,237 needed to win the nomination. Democrats were to award 32 of the 2,382 delegates needed for nomination.

Instead, New Hampshire's power lies in the momentum it confers on winners (and those who do better than expected), and the blow it delivers to those who finish far behind or fall short of expectations in some way. Especially in the early states, the candidates are competing to show strength and organization to party activists and donors as much as to amass delegates.

Next up: Nev. and S.C.

Reflecting the state's perceptual importance, campaigns and super PACs dominated television screens with an estimated $111 million in ads, and winding roads were clogged with candidates' rock-star buses and journalists' rental cars.

Among the Democrats, Sanders held the polling lead for months, and the main question headed into the voting seemed to be how big his victory would be. Clinton's team was doing the best it could to downplay her chances in the state beforehand, noting the electorate's history of siding with fellow New Englanders.

Just a week ago, Clinton eked out a narrow win in the Iowa caucuses, which Sanders portrayed as a tie.

Clinton remains the favorite in the next two contests, the Nevada caucuses on Feb. 20 and the South Carolina primary Feb. 27, where the Democratic electorates are more diverse and moderate than in the first two states.

tfitzgerald@phillynews.com

215-854-2718

@tomfitzgerald

www.philly.com/bigtent


THE ROAD AHEAD

Feb. 20: Nevada Democratic caucuses, South Carolina GOP primary

Feb. 23: Nevada GOP caucuses

Feb. 27: South Carolina Democratic primary

March 1: Super Tuesday, with voting in more than a dozen states