Thursday 18 January 2018

Trump and Sanders face challenges after commanding primary wins

Donald Trump has emerged the Republican winner of the New Hampshire primary contests (AP)
Donald Trump has emerged the Republican winner of the New Hampshire primary contests (AP)
Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders hails supporters in New Hampshire (AP)

Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Bernie Sanders were moving on from commanding wins in the first-in-the-nation New Hampshire primary to more diverse states that will challenge their transformation from outsider candidates to their parties' presidential nominees.

The next Republican contest is the February 20 South Carolina primary, which will test Mr Trump's staying power. Next for Democrats is the Nevada caucus on the same day.

Result of the New Hampshire primary.
Result of the New Hampshire primary.

Mr Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist, easily beat Hillary Clinton, a former secretary of state and first lady once seen as the all-but-certain Democratic nominee. With more than 90% of the vote counted in New Hampshire, Mr Sanders had 60% to Mrs Clinton's 38%.

Mr Trump, the real estate billionaire and television personality who has never held public office, had 35% among the Republicans, with moderate Ohio governor John Kasich a distant second with 16%.

"We are going to make America so great again," Mr Trump told a raucous crowd. "Maybe greater than ever before."

Texas senator Ted Cruz finished third in New Hampshire, former Florida governor Jeb Bush was fourth and Florida senator Marco Rubio was fifth. Less than a percentage point separated each of those positions.

"I think they're all really potential threats," Mr Trump said of his rivals on Wednesday on MSNBC. "But I'm OK at handling threats."

Mr Kasich, who surged from relative obscurity in New Hampshire, has a poorly funded campaign that will struggle to keep up momentum in South Carolina and beyond.

New Jersey governor Chris Christie was expected to drop out after finishing sixth in New Hampshire.

He told supporters that instead of going to South Carolina, he will head home to "take a deep breath" and take stock of his struggling bid.

Mr Sanders's campaign launched ads Wednesday in Oklahoma, Minnesota, Colorado and Massachusetts - all states where they believe the Vermont senator can grow.

Mrs Clinton's campaign argues she will perform better as the race heads to more racially diverse states, including Nevada and South Carolina.

Civil rights activist the Rev Al Sharpton said he met with Mr Sanders on Wednesday to discuss issues that affect the African-American community, including affirmative action and police brutality.

Mr Sharpton said he will not endorse a candidate until he and various heads of national civil rights organisations meet with Mrs Clinton next week.

Nevada has been considered Clinton territory, in part because of her strong relationships to the Latino community and longtime Democrats in the state.

At stake Tuesday were less than 1% of the delegates who, at party national conventions in July, will choose nominees to succeed Barack Obama. But a strong showing in New Hampshire can give a candidate momentum ahead of state contests in coming weeks, including the March 1 "Super Tuesday" when 11 states vote.

Mr Trump, Mr Cruz and Mr Rubio all have expansive organisations in South Carolina and several Super Tuesday states. Mr Bush's campaign released a radio ad Wednesday in South Carolina featuring his brother, former president George W Bush.

Press Association

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