Open thread: The battle for New Hampshire’s silver medal; Update: Fox calls Trump, Sanders winners; Update: Fox, ABC, NBC call silver for Kasich
posted at 6:41 pm on February 9, 2016 by Ed Morrissey
10:29 – A measured Ted Cruz claims vindication from what looks very much like a bronze-medal finish. He’s right that few gave him much chance of doing this well, including Cruz himself, who didn’t spend a lot of money in New Hampshire. Trump has his vindication too, but Cruz might end up with more momentum coming into South Carolina.
10:17 – Rubio doesn’t dodge the debate flop:
Rubio: "Our disappointment is not on you, it's on me. I did not do well on Saturday night. But listen to me: That will never happen again."
— McKay Coppins (@mckaycoppins) February 10, 2016
10:10 – Trump didn’t speak for too long, unlike Sanders, who went on and on and on. In a further development, Bret Baier noted that Chris Christie won’t qualify for the debate in South Carolina. With a sixth-place finish, one has to wonder whether he’ll remain in the race.
10:05 – Trump’s victory speech starts off with a brief but gracious mention of the other GOP candidates, and then goes into his stump speech, as did Bernie and Hillary. One interesting point: a strong defense of 2nd Amendment rights, complete with an argument for self-defense based on the Paris attacks.
— Fox News (@FoxNews) February 10, 2016
9:50 – Bernie’s still talking, but Cruz is slowly increasing the space between him and Bush for third place, with 43% of the precincts reporting.
9:38 – “Our country was based on one simple principle: fairness.” Actually, it was founded on liberty, not fairness, Senator Sanders.
Also, with 40% of precincts reporting, Hillary’s down to 38.4% of the vote in a state she won eight years ago.
9:26 – Bernie Sanders starts off his victory speech with an 18-point lead over Hillary and 30% of precincts reporting. He thanked Hillary with gracious remarks toward her campaign’s hard work, which didn’t exactly pay off.
9:18 – “Let’s get something that’s long overdue — equal pay for women!” shouts the candidate who paid women on her staff 72 cents on the dollar compared to men.
9:16 – Hillary is railing about secret, unaccountable money in politics, and then argues that Citizens United damaged democracy by attacking … her. This is supposed to be a concession speech, but it’s clear that she’s positioning herself as Chief Victim of the United States. Whatevs.
9:10 – Fox, ABC, and NBC calling second place for Kasich with 27% of precincts reporting. The battle shifts to third place, and Cruz is edging out Bush for it at the moment.
9:00 – The votes are coming in slowly, and not much is changing in the Republican race. Hillary Clinton is planning to concede soon, and Bernie Sanders will give a victory speech. In the GOP race, Ted Cruz is making a bid for third place, while Rubio’s barely remaining in range for delegates. If Cruz can score a third-place win in New Hampshire, he might parlay that into another surprise in South Carolina.
8:42 – Had to step away to do a radio hit on the Jack Riccardi Show in San Antonio, and to finish dinner. It’s still too close to figure out the under-Trump order, but the Democratic results are eye-popping. With 16% of precincts reporting, Sanders has an 18-point lead in a state Hillary won eight years ago, 58/40.
8:00 – Fox News, and everyone else probably, called New Hampshire for Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders as soon as the polls closed.
7:39 – There isn’t much to report so far. Most of the discussion has focused on the exit polling, and a significant amount of attention on Kasich. There have not been many actual developments, except for Kasich finding his inner peace.
7:37 – Uh …
Fox gets statement from Kasich campaign: "He is at total peace." Really?
— Ed Morrissey (@EdMorrissey) February 10, 2016
7:05 – On the Democratic side, exit polls show that among voters who prioritized trustworthiness voted for Sanders, 93/5. Yikes.
7:03: Most polls have closed, but not all — and Rubio’s campaign wants them to know it:
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) February 9, 2016
Update, 6:54 pm ET: And here we go with the exit polls, which mean … not too much. Late deciders are breaking for Donald Trump and John Kasich:
Late-deciding voters in the New Hampshire Republican primary Tuesday are breaking big for Donald Trump and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, according to Fox News exit polls.
The polls show that Kasich and Trump, a billionaire businessman, each got 21 percent of that vote.
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio each got 13 percent of the late deciders, the exit polls show.
That’s the way the exit polls have it laying out overall, too. But it’s good to remember that exit polls are only useful after the vote is counted and the sample is corrected.
Original post follows …
The polls close in New Hampshire at 7 pm ET, so get ready for some Granite State grandstanding. We’ll track the results from the Townhall site, which will have constantly updating totals during the night, although this primary may be busy enough to where we’ll be waiting for a few hours to get final results. Secretary of State Bill Gardner expected a record turnout in both party’s voting, and the early lines backed him up on that prediction:
Monday’s snowstorm appears to have had little effect on New Hampshire residents heading to the polls Tuesday to cast ballots in the first-in-the-nation presidential primary.
City Clerk Matt Normand said the tabulators are running smoothly; the lines at the polls have been moving along; and the weather has really cooperated.
Polls opened at 6 a.m. in the city and by 8:10 a.m., about 700 people had cast ballots in Ward 1, whose residents vote at Webster Elementary School.
A steady stream of voters made their way into the school as exuberant supporters of candidates carried on outside.
Among the candidates showing less exuberance about New Hampshire is Ben Carson. He packed up early and decamped to South Carolina, skipping his own campaign event:
Ben Carson will be notably absent from his New Hampshire primary party on Tuesday.
The retired neurosurgeon will instead fly to South Carolina in the afternoon, his campaign said. Following Tuesday’s first-in-the-nation primary in New Hampshire, South Carolina Republicans will vote next, on Feb. 20.
John Kasich did the same thing last week in Iowa, and it didn’t seem to hurt him in New Hampshire. If Carson is ever going to get back in the race, South Carolina has to be his last firewall. Or Alamo, depending on what happens. He can’t do much in New Hampshire today (current RCP average: 2.8%), so getting out to more conservative turf a little earlier seems like a smart play. If Carson wanted to get out of the race, he’d stay put.
It seems pretty clear that Donald Trump will have a good night; even if polling inflates his standing with non-viable voters, he should score well enough to retain some of his double-digit polling lead over the rest of the field. It’s the silver-medal battle that will captivate observers, and it’s a toss-up. Polling in the last week has put Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, and John Kasich in the runner-up slot, and with enough voters making up their minds late, it’s impossible to figure out a favorite.
With that said, here’s what’s at stake for the pack:
- Rubio — I tend to discount the impact of a bad debate exchange on the subsequent vote; Cruz had arguably his poorest debate showing right before winning the Iowa caucuses. Rubio needs to finish in the top three, and probably second place, to keep donors and backers from getting worried. Anything less than third means South Carolina’s probably out of reach.
- Cruz – He just needs to have a decent finish in the pack behind Trump. Winning Iowa gave him a pass here. If he finishes significantly below 10%, it might be a problem, but otherwise he’ll be fine. A second-place finish would likely turn the rest of the primaries into a two-way race, however.
- Kasich – If he doesn’t get a second-place finish, he’s all but done. Where is his path to the nomination without it?
- Bush – He needs a top-three finish to keep his credibility and his donors viable for another couple of events. Like Kasich, though, it’s tough to see what Bush’s path to the nomination would be from here. Maybe Nevada, but that’s a caucus state, and Bush isn’t a grassroots candidate.
- Christie — If he finishes out of the medals, he’s done. Unlike the others above, there’s been no hint of polling movement for Christie, not even after showing up Rubio … which is why I doubt that the Rubio campaign is all that concerned about the impact from the debate.
Oh, there’s also the Democratic primary, too. The only suspense there is how badly Bernie Sanders thumps Hillary Clinton. I’ll guess that Sanders gets a 15-point win.
Don’t be surprised if this goes deep into the night before we know who came in second to Trump. As before, updates will come at the top of this post.