Donald Trump wins NH, but Jeb Bush has strong night
MANCHESTER, N.H. -- Donald Trump stormed back into the national spotlight by winning the New Hampshire primary Tuesday and Democrat Bernie Sanders avenged his narrow Iowa loss to Hillary Clinton.
The decisive victories came at 8 p.m., right when polls closed, kicking off wild celebrations that displayed the anti-establishment mood of the 2016 election and, for now, put two unlikely candidates in command.
With the winners out of the way — polls long predicted the outcome — drama hinged on who would fill out the rest of the GOP’s top tier. Second went to Ohio Gov. John Kasich. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, the hard-charging conservative who won the Iowa caucuses last week, had a slight edge into the night for third over former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.
“You’ve all reset the race,” Bush declared to his well-organized supporters. “This campaign is not dead. We’re going to South Carolina.” As he began to speak in Manchester, television networks switched to Trump’s victory address, denying Bush his moment.
Still, Bush earned new life and scored a psychological victory over Florida rival Marco Rubio, who finished fifth, his claim of momentum stunted after a poor debate performance Saturday in which he robotically repeated the same talking points, looking unsettled amid a brutal attack from Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey.
The performance earned Christie attention but not a good night at the polls. He finished sixth and said he would return to New Jersey to “take a deep breath” and evaluate his campaign.
Recent polls had shown Rubio moving into second but, in an early sign of worry for him Tuesday, two-thirds of GOP voters said that recent debates were key in their decision.
“Our disappointment is not on you, it’s on me. I did not do well on Saturday night so listen to this, that will never happen again,” Rubio told supporters.