Bernie Sanders won the New Hampshire Democratic presidential primaries, declaring victory in the first-in-the-nation vote and paving an even clearer potential path to securing the nomination and moving onto the general election against Donald Trump.
And an unexpectedly strong performance from Amy Klobuchar gave her a stronger path out of New Hampshire as the contest moves on to the gantlet of state-by-state primary contests that lie ahead.
The strength of Mr Sanders and Mr Buttigieg was matched in reverse by the struggle of former Vice President Joe Biden, who spent most of the last year as the Democrats’ national front-runner but fled New Hampshire hours before polls closed anticipating a bad finish.
With final returns ahead, he was competing for fourth place with Elizabeth Warren, a disappointing turn for the senator from neighbouring Massachusetts.
Neither Mr Biden nor Ms Warren were on track to receive any delegates.
“So many of you chose to meet a new era of challenge with a new generation of leadership,” Mr Buttigieg said.
Meanwhile, Mr Sanders boasted of “a movement from coast to coast ... to defeat the most dangerous president."
Meanwhile, two candidates dropped out amid the crucial New Hampshire vote.
Michael Bennet, a Colorado Senator and former 2020 hopeful, told supporters on Tuesday: “I love you, New Hampshire. Whether you knew it or not, we were having a great time together.”
He added: “I think it’s fitting for us to end the campaign tonight.”
The announcement came just after Andrew Yang, another low-polling Democratic presidential candidate, announced he was suspending his campaign amid the first-in-the-nation primary.
“They’ve decided tonight, and tonight is not going to be our night, but let me say this to New Hampshire: You may see me once again, so thank you”, Mr Bennet said.
Mr Yang, who announced the suspension of his candidacy just moments before Mr Bennet, was the last candidate of colour to qualify for the debate stages, effectively leaving a still-crowded field of all-white candidates vying for the Democratic nomination.
Additional reporting by Associated Press. See live updates from the New Hampshire primaries as they came in below.
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