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Sanders, Buttigieg appear as democratic race frontrunners after New Hampshire

Published: Updated:

Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg stepped forward Wednesday as undisputed frontrunners in the race to take on President Donald Trump in November after finishing first and second in the New Hampshire primary.

The 78-year-old leftist senator from neighboring Vermont and the young former mayor of South Bend, Indiana took 26 and 24 percent of the votes in Tuesday’s voting. Last week in Iowa’s caucuses they also finished as the top two – with Buttigieg narrowly beating Sanders.

Meanwhile, Joe Biden tried to sound optimistic after his sagging campaign took another awful hit with a fifth-place showing, behind Elizabeth Warren, the Massachusetts senator whose star also has dimmed.

And the race lost its last African-American presidential hopeful with the departure of former Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick.

The eight candidates left will now turn their attention to primaries in Nevada on February 22 and South Carolina on the 29th. Looming is the big prize of the so-called Super Tuesday on March 3, when 14 states hold their primaries.

“Our victory in New Hampshire isn’t about me. It’s about us. It’s about the movement our supporters, volunteers, and grassroots donors built, which will transform this country,” Sanders tweeted. On Tuesday night he told jubilant supporters his win marked “the beginning of the end for Donald Trump.”

Still, Sanders’ margin of victory was leaner than polls had predicted. In the 2016 campaign, he took a whopping 60 percent of the votes in New Hampshire, finishing far ahead of Hillary Clinton.