While the nation continues to await the final results of Monday’s Iowa Democratic presidential caucuses, the candidates have quickly shifted their focus to New Hampshire, where the first primary will be held Tuesday.
Late Monday night, when the Iowa Democratic Party revealed issues with the smartphone app used to gather precinct results, most candidates spoke to supporters and then flew to New Hampshire to continue campaigning there.
Former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg was at a town hall in Laconia, N.H., when he found out about the first results in Iowa being reported. That showed him leading all candidates percentage-wise for state delegate equivalents and about 1,200 votes behind Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders in the popular vote county.
Buttigieg, the first openly gay presidential candidate, appeared to get choked up, telling the crowd the outcome “validates for a kid somewhere in a community wondering if he belongs, or she belongs, or they belong, in their own family that if you believe in yourself and your country, there’s a lot backing up that belief.”
Buttigieg and Sanders will be joined on stage for a debate Friday night in Manchester, N.H., by former Vice President Joe Biden, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, and businessmen Andrew Yang and Tom Steyer. The debate will be at 8 p.m. on ABC.
Sanders has led almost every recent poll in New Hampshire, a state he won by 20 points in the 2016 primary.
A New York Times/Siena College poll in late January showed Sanders with 25 percent support, followed by Buttigieg at 18 percent. That was a 6-point increase for Sanders from October. Biden was at 17 percent and Warren 15 percent. She had been at 22 percent in October.
A Boston Globe poll released Tuesday also had Sanders in the lead at 24 percent, with Biden and Buttigieg both at 15 percent and Warren at 10 percent.
The primary is especially important for those candidates performing the worst in polling. Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard and former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, for example, essentially moved to New Hampshire, skipping Iowa altogether. That showed in the Iowa caucuses, where both drew 0 percent of the vote.
Despite the differences between how caucuses and primaries work, New Hampshire election officials were quick to point out that the problems in Iowa will not and cannot be an issue in The Granite State.
New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner told the New Hampshire Union Leader that no apps are used in the process, and voting is run by municipal officials rather than political parties. He explained that voters in his state’s primary will fill out paper ballots that are then read by a moderator and recorded by hand by a clerk.