The Vermont senator has narrowly topped a key Democratic primary. Meanwhile, tech entrepreneur Andrew Yang dropped his 2020 bid.
Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders declared victory in the New Hampshire Democratic primary, beating Pete Buttigieg by just 1.3 percentage points.
Sanders, who came in with 25.7% of votes, declared in his victory speech in Manchester, New Hampshire, "This victory here is the beginning of the end of Donald Trump."
"It is not just about beating Trump; it is about transforming this country," he added. "It's on to Nevada. It's on to South Carolina. It's on to win the Democratic nomination."
Sanders won the 2016 New Hampshire primary, and ranked higher than Buttigieg , Senator Elizabeth Warren, former Vice President Joe Biden and Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar in 2020 opinion polls.
Republicans also voted, but with no major contenders for the slot other than Donald Trump. The last polling booths closed at 1 a.m. UTC, but most closed at 12.
Residents of the northeastern state cast their ballots for just 24 delegates, or less than 1% of the nationwide delegate count. The vote was cast with less skepticism than its predecessor Iowa's, because the state utilizes a traditional paper ballot system.
All eyes were on the second state to cast its vote following the contentious Democratic caucusesin Iowa last week, which saw a delayed release of the party's results after a technical error occurred with the party's vote counting application.
Iowa sawButtigieg and Sanders closely tied for the Democratic nomination, with Buttigieg raking in 26.2% of the votes, over 26.1% for Sanders.
Another one bites the dust
Meanwhile, Democratic businessman Andrew Yang and Colorado Senator Michael Bennet dropped their 2020 presidential bids. Yang, a 45-year-old businessman with no political background, surprised observers by qualifying for debates and remaining in the contest longer than some veteran politicians.
His primary proposal was to implement a universal basic income of $1,000 (€916) as an answer to what he dubbed the "fourth industrial revolution," or the rise in automation that took away millions of manufacturing jobs. Yang was polling at 3%, with 20% of votes in New Hampshire reported when he announced his exit.
"Our signature proposal, universal basic income, has become part of the mainstream conversation," he said. "Without a doubt, we accelerated the eradication of poverty in our society by years, even generations."
Bennet, 55, was a late entrant to the race and only formally announced his candidacy in late April after completing treatment for prostate cancer. The Colorado senator had largely staked his bid on trying to win New Hampshire.
"We weren't able to get much in the way of name identification in the state," he said. "We didn't have the resources to compete."
Former Maryland Representative John Delaney backed out of the Democratic bid just three days before the Iowa caucuses took place. "It is clear that God has a different purpose for me at this moment in time," he said.
lc/aw (Reuters, AFP)