Kerry wins in NH!
Updated: 09:06 PM EST
· John Kerry declared winner [See Results Below]
· Howard Dean follows in second
· John Edwards, Wesley Clark in tight race for third
· 52% of precincts reporting
· Democrats Face Seven-State Test Next [More]
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· Cast Your Ballot: Vote in the Straw Poll
A Little State With a Lot of Clout
Kerry Declared Winner in New Hampshire
By John Whitesides, Reuters
New Hampshire Primary
Percent Of Vote Total Votes
John Kerry 39% 40,177
Howard Dean 25% 25,682
John Edwards 12% 12,834
Wesley Clark 12% 12,700
Joe Lieberman 9% 9,445
Dennis Kucinich 1% 1,420
Al Sharpton 0% 162
George Bush 88% 24,750
52% of precincts reporting
MANCHESTER, N.H. (Jan. 27) - John Kerry took control of the Democratic presidential race with a win over Howard Dean in the New Hampshire primary on Tuesday, but Dean's struggling campaign hoped for new life with a strong finish.
Kerry, the Massachusetts senator whose come-from-behind win in the Iowa caucuses last week turned the 2004 presidential race upside down, scored his second consecutive victory in the race to pick a Democratic challenger to President Bush.
Dean, the one-time front-runner who had fallen well behind in polls after his dismal third-place showing in Iowa and his widely ridiculed concession speech, hoped to make the race close enough to claim a moral victory as the night wore on.
With about 33 percent of precincts reporting, Kerry had a 39 percent to 25 percent lead over Dean. North Carolina Sen. John Edwards held a narrow lead over retired Gen. Wesley Clark in the race for third place, 13 percent to 12 percent, and Connecticut Sen. Joseph Lieberman was at 9 percent.
Kerry's win sends him into next week's round of seven Democratic state contests with huge momentum and improving fund-raising totals. Kerry, a decorated Vietnam veteran, looked to be going nowhere a month ago, trailing Dean in Iowa and by more than 20 points in New Hampshire.
But he put on a late charge to gain a surprising win in Iowa and carried that momentum into New Hampshire as voters began to evaluate which of the Democrats had the best chance of beating Bush in November.
Kerry has emphasized his war and foreign policy experience, promising to challenge Bush on traditional Republican issues turf of security.
More than 180,000 registered voters were expected to turn out to vote in the primary in New Hampshire, the tiny state famous for surprise finishes and a fondness for political underdogs.
Dean said earlier in the day he was ''closing the gap'' and visited polling places in Manchester and Concord. He trailed Kerry by double digits in many polls heading into the primary, and aides said they would be thrilled with a close second.
OUTCOME CRUCIAL FOR ALL
The outcome of the first-in-the-nation primary also was crucial for the other three major candidates. Edwards, Clark and Lieberman hoped a strong third-place showing would propel them on to breakthrough wins in later contests.
Most of the candidates had relatively light days, visiting polling places in the morning and rallying volunteers to help get out the vote before the last of the state's polls close.
The win for Kerry tagged him as the Democratic front-runner, a title he has resisted since Iowa and one that would likely make him the target of fresh attacks from his rivals in the race and Bush's Republican supporters.
New Hampshire's first primary has traditionally been unpredictable, knocking front-runners off stride and some losers out of the race. Independents, the state's largest voting bloc, can participate in either party primary, adding an air of uncertainty to the outcome.
The voting in New Hampshire, coming one week after Iowa's kick-off caucuses, ends the first phase of intensive, person-to-person campaigning before the race spreads out across the country next Tuesday with contests in seven states, where candidates switch their emphasis from building momentum to rounding up the delegates needed to win the Democratic nomination.
New Hampshire will send 22 pledged delegates to the Democratic convention this summer, fewer than all but one of the seven states with contests on Feb. 3.
New Rule: It's time to quit picking on Judy Dean, says the host of "Real Time With Bill Maher."
Edwards, Clark and Lieberman have aimed for a strong enough showing in New Hampshire to propel them to wins next week, but the fifth-place finisher might find both money and enthusiasm running dry.
Most of the candidates will pull out of New Hampshire for the next round of states on Tuesday night or early Wednesday.
Kerry will head to Missouri on Wednesday, the biggest prize next Tuesday with 74 pledged delegates. Dean will return to his home in Burlington, Vermont, for a day before heading to South Carolina on Thursday to campaign and participate in a debate.
Edwards will hit South Carolina, the first primary in the South and a must-win state for him, Oklahoma and Missouri on Wednesday. Clark travels to South Carolina and Lieberman to Delaware, the smallest of the Feb. 3 states with 15 pledged delegates.
Bush also is on the ballot in New Hampshire in a Republican primary in which he faces no major opposition. (Additional reporting by Patricia Wilson, John Crawley, Chris Wilson, Mark Egan)
I would personally show the whole lot of them to the border!! Maybe we can fake-throw a stick or tennis ball to make the elimination process a little simpler!