Learn about the 2020 New Hampshire primary here as the Granite State prepares for its first-in-the-nation vote.
You may say wait a minute: Iowa was first-in-the-nation! Well, it was, but that was a caucus, and this is a primary. The former has no formal votes cast, while the other does. In fact, the vast majority of the state activity we will see in this season involves primaries. New Hampshire, being first, gets first-in-the-nation status.
A small state in New England, New Hampshire retains an important role in the presidential election process. From the moment Dixville Notch casts its votes at midnight until the last votes are counted statewide, all eyes will be on the Granite State. Campaigns for the Democratic nomination will end based on these results. Here, we give you a look at the political makeup of the state, to whom this state will be of particular importance, and some of the most important cities and towns as election night unfolds.
2020 New Hampshire Primary Results
Bernie Sanders won the New Hampshire primary for the second-straight election cycle, though on a greatly reduced share of the vote than when he faced Hillary Clinton in a two-person race. In 2016, Sanders was running an insurgent race against establishment choice Clinton, and being the senator from next door, he blasted Clinton in a landslide win.
2020 had many more candidates in a crowded field to take on Donald Trump. Even with the totals sheared down, Senator Sanders still went on to carry many towns in New Hampshire. Sanders won Manchester, Nashua, Concord, and Portsmouth, which turned out to be a winning formula.
Buttigieg support was observed throughout the state, but with clusters in the key areas near New Hampshire Route 101 in the southeastern part of the state. Indeed, it was these cities and towns that made the final result so close. In another notable result, he carried Hanover, home to Dartmouth College. Mayor Buttigieg also saw some victories in the Lakes Region.
Amy Klobuchar rose to a surprising third-place finish after exceeding expectations in Iowa. A praised debate performance helped create some momentum, getting her to almost 20 percent of the vote. The list of Senator Klobuchar’s towns and cities won is slim, but she did carry several in the areas around Manchester and Concord.
Elizabeth Warren, a senator from neighboring Massachusetts, did not win any towns as she came in a distant fourth. Former vice president Joe Biden came in fifth, giving up on New Hampshire and spending his election night in South Carolina, his must-win state.
Prior New Hampshire Democratic Primary Results
We went back as far as 1988 to examine recent Democratic primaries in New Hampshire.
The New Hampshire primary’s track record of projecting party nominees is not great in recent times. Over the last six contested election cycles, three New Hampshire winners went on to the nomination and three did not. Their last backing of a nominee was in 2004 when John Kerry from the state next door won it; this with the obvious exclusion of 2012 (Obama renominated uncontested).
2016 New Hampshire Democratic Primary Results
New Hampshire 2016 Results Map
2020 New Hampshire Primary Critical Cities and Towns
The below are the ten largest cities and/or towns in New Hampshire.
Its largest city is Manchester, which is the only New Hampshire locale with a population officially over 100,000. Second is Nashua, a city on the Massachusetts border only 20 minutes south of Manchester.
Third is the capital city of New Hampshire, Concord, which is about 20 minutes north of Manchester. The capital’s population is in the 40 to 50-thousand range, telling you that this state is not very densely populated. Fourth is Derry, a town close to both Nashua and Manchester in the I-93 corridor; it is the largest town in the state as opposed to a city. In fifth place is Dover, a city on the southern border with Maine.
Most of the remainder of the top ten are either on one of the state’s borders or lie in between Manchester and Nashua. In fact, you have to get beyond the top ten for the largest locale in central New Hampshire, Laconia, and into the top 20s before the largest one north of that, Lebanon.
New Hampshire’s towns to the north are quite small overall. Berlin and Conway are some of the largest at around 10,000 population with almost all others below that. The vast majority of New Hampshire’s population is in the southern part of the state. Hillsborough and Rockingham Counties, the two largest in the state, both of which are on the Massachusetts border, account for over half of its population.
Who Must Perform Well in the 2020 New Hampshire Primary?
The New Hampshire primary is of critical importance to Bernie Sanders. He won the primary in a landslide in 2016 and represents the state next door, Vermont. He is one of the best-known quantities in national politics in the Granite State. A loss would be devastating to his campaign as this is a state in which he is as primed to do well as anywhere outside of Vermont.
New Hampshire is also important to Elizabeth Warren, another senator from a neighboring state, but for now, she is putting effort into Iowa.
Tom Steyer is advertising heavily in the New Hampshire media markets, including Boston, which would lead one to believe he is going all-in. Andrew Yang is also beginning to hit the airwaves in New Hampshire, but it remains to be seen if he can pick up traction as we close in on February 2020. Joe Biden can likely survive a loss in New Hampshire, given that he should do very well in South Carolina. Pete Buttigieg is also doing well in Iowa so as long as he is near the top, he will make it through.