Bernie Sanders won New Hampshire’s presidential primary election on Tuesday night, narrowly edging moderate rival Pete Buttigieg and scoring the first clear victory in the Democratic Party’s chaotic 2020 nomination fight.
In his win, the 78-year-old self-described democratic socialist beat back a strong challenge from Mr Buttigieg, a 38-year-old former Midwestern mayor.
The dueling Democrats represent different generations, see divergent paths to the nomination and embrace conflicting visions of America’s future.
“We are gonna win because we have the agenda that speaks to the needs of working people across this country,” Mr Sanders told supporters .
“This victory here is the beginning of the end for Donald Trump.”
His opponent struck an optimistic tone, saying: “Thanks to you, a campaign that some said shouldn’t be here at all has shown that we are here to stay.”
Senator Amy Klobuchar finished a strong third, giving her campaign an unexpected boost, while Elizabeth Warren and Joe Biden posted disappointing fourth and fifth place finishes respectively and were on track to finish with zero delegates from the state.
Before the primaries began, former vice-president Joe Biden was seen as the frontrunner.
After a chaotic beginning to primary voting last week in Iowa, Democrats hoped New Hampshire would help give shape to their urgent quest to pick someone to take on US President Donald Trump in November.
At least two candidates dropped out in the wake of weak finishes on Tuesday night: moderate Colorado Senator Michael Bennet and political newcomer Andrew Yang, who attracted a small but loyal following over the past year and was one of just three candidates of colour left in the race.