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New Hampshire's secret victor

Ines Pohl
Ines Pohl
February 10, 2016

The night may have belonged to Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump, but DW's Ines Pohl believes an under-the-radar winner also emerged from New Hampshire's primary. John Kasich's haul may bode well for Republicans.

USA John Kasich Präsidentschaftsvorwahlen in New Hampshire
Image: Reuters/M. Schwalm

This New Hampshire primary has fulfilled many expectations. Both Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders swept to victory. The Republican hopeful Marco Rubio failed to recover from a disastrous performance in the most recent TV debate among candidates. The polls had predicted all of this.

The millions that Jeb Bush had pumped into winning this small but strategically crucial state in New England paid off. He garnered just over 11 percent of the votes and will thus be able to raise enough funds in the coming weeks to ensure that he remains in this absurdly expensive race for now.

Hillary Clinton was forced to concede defeat, but in a very strong speech she demonstrated once again that she refuses to let her will to win be influenced by such setbacks. She is a fighter. Experience shows that she will be able to rely on the decisive support of African-American and Latino voters in the upcoming state primaries. She oozed confidence with every word and gesture, making clear her belief that New Hampshire spelled Sanders' final success.

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Ines Pohl sees a GOP dark horse in John Kasich

So, is this a case of "All Quiet on the New Hampshire Front"? Is it merely further confirmation that in the early phase of this incredible election campaign, the winners are those who are set against the establishment, who seek out all that is wrong with Washington, and who announce ambitious plans and promises with great aplomb but seem to have no realistic programs that could be implemented once in office?

This would be true if not for John Kasich. The Ohio governor is the evening's secret winner. Though some insiders have had their eye on him for a while, in this rather shrill campaign it's been difficult for him to get a word in edgewise with his intellectual and precise arguments.

His second place in New Hampshire, with 15 percent of the vote, will change this drastically. He's in the spotlight now. Even if he only makes second place in South Carolina, he will gain the momentum that seems to be of such importance in these primaries. In effect, this simply means gaining enough attention, through positive news, to raise more funds to maintain his position.

His rivals also know this. It's a question of hours rather than days before the attacks start coming. And we have seen enough of Donald Trump and Ted Cruz in recent weeks to know that they will be relentless.

Will Marco Rubio be able to make a comeback? Or will the Republican establishment end up having no choice but to support Kasich, despite his more liberal stance on immigration reform and his support of universal health coverage, if Trump is to be stopped?

Many of the results in New Hampshire were expected, but not John Kasich. His win is good news.

Ines Pohl
Ines Pohl Bureau head of DW's Washington Studio@inespohl