White House race shifts gears in New Hampshire

U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton smiles as she arrives to lead a campaign rally at Nashua Community College, in Nashua, New Hampshire February 2, 2016. (Reuters)

The White House race picked up speed in New Hampshire on Tuesday after Iowa voters opened the 2016 contest by knocking the showman Donald Trump into humble second place, and Hillary Clinton scraped past a surging Bernie Sanders.

Exceeding pollster predictions, Trump’s Republican arch-rival Ted Cruz streaked to victory in the boisterous Iowa caucuses kicking off the months-long process of nominating presidential candidates in the Republican and Democratic camps.

The billionaire real estate mogul whose campaign turned conventional politics on its head also now faces a threat from the telegenic Marco Rubio, who chalked up more than 23 percent to Trump’s 24.3 percent, behind the evangelical Cruz on 27.7.

Make no mistake we are in a fight to the finish.

Hillary Clinton

Clinton’s razor-thin victory over Sanders - 49.8 against 49.6 percent - made clear she too has a real fight on her hands in the form of the Vermont senator and self-proclaimed democratic socialist as the primaries shift into high gear.

But the former secretary of state avoided her nightmare scenario: a repeat of 2008 when she lost Iowa to a rising Barack Obama - ultimately costing her the nomination.

Before the Iowa tallies were even released, the contenders from both camps were jetting out to New Hampshire which holds its nomination votes a week from now, with Clinton and Sanders, Trump and Rubio holding competing rallies in the state Tuesday evening.

“Make no mistake we are in a fight to the finish,” Clinton told supporters upon her arrival - setting her sights on the trio leading the Republican race.

‘Political revolution’

Clinton acknowledged on CNN that the 74-year-old Sanders has struck a chord with young Americans on the left with his calls for “political revolution.”

“I’m going to have some work to do to reach out to young voters - maybe first-time voters who have to make a tough decision as they evaluate who should be our president, our commander-in-chief. I intend to do that,” she said.

Sanders’s camp has not conceded defeat, considering it a tie, and his campaign manager told CNN he hoped to see a detailed breakdown of results in what is a famously complex caucusing process.

“We’re not contesting the election,” Jeff Weaver told CNN, but “we would love to see some tally sheets.

“There’s new technology and room for human error,” he added.

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:50 - GMT 06:50