Businessman Donald Trump won the New Hampshire Republican primary with a decisive win over his rivals. Trump won with a double-digit lead over his nearest competitor, Governor John Kasich (OH). Kasich focused intensely on the state and held over 100 town halls.
Trump won every demographic in a state he was expected to win easily. Trump has led in every major poll of the state since July. The race was immediately called for Trump, as it was for Senator Bernie Sanders on the Democratic side, once all the polls closed closed at 8 PM ET.
Many expected a fight for second place, but Kasich took an early relative lead and was able to hold onto it. Kasich had bet his campaign on New Hampshire and polling indicates that late-breaking independents went for the Ohio Governor. Kasich largely ran a positive campaign and has tried to update his public persona as being a “Happy Warrior.” Senator Ted Cruz was able to eek out a third place victory, battling with former Governor Jeb Bush for the slot throughout the night. Bush’s campaign had also placed a high importance on New Hampshire and more so wanted to have a victory over Senator Marco Rubio (FL).
New Hampshire’s results have plunged the establishment wing of the Republican Party into chaos as that group seeks to coalesce around a candidate who can take on Cruz and Trump. Rubio has been seen as a favorite, especially after his close third place finish in Iowa. However, Rubio’s campaign has largely collapsed since a poor debate performance when he was seen as robotic and devoid of substance. Kasich, who did not actively compete in Iowa, is now seeking to convert his positive momentum into better results in South Carolina. The Bush campaign has seen New Hampshire as a victory due to his close fourth place victory and, especially, victory over Rubio. Governor Chris Christie, who had spent more time and money in the state than other candidates, finished a disappointing sixth place. He has travelled back to his home in New Jersey to weigh the future of his campaign.
Carly Fiorina had placed seventh, less than doubling Dr. Ben Carson’s vote total despite Dr. Carson not competing in the state. However, Fiorina has said that she will continue on.
Many establishment candidates had placed their hopes on the Granite State due to the high number of moderate voters. This is in contrast to Iowa which is made up of evangelicals and conservative grassroots activists.