Inside the Southern New Hampshire University fieldhouse, hundreds of supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders watched primary results come in, all but sure of a victory.
They waved signs and chanted “Bernie, Bernie,” when the Vermont senator’s name was mentioned, and got more animated as early results showed Sanders in the lead. At 10 p.m., the race had not been called, and Sanders had not yet addressed his supporters.
“It could be a momentous occasion,” said Cieran Lavery of Alstead. He compared the feeling to going to a rally for then-Sen. Barack Obama in 2008.
“I remember going to Obama rallies, and it was very meaningful to be present. What you’re hoping for is happening, and you’re part of it.”
“I want to be able to tell my kids I was here,” said Ian Moltenbrey of Bedford.
Just before 9 p.m., as early results from across the state showed Sen. Elizabeth Warren in fourth place, the Massachusetts senator thanked supporters with a speech that sounded anything but conciliatory.
“It is clear that Sen. Sanders and Mayor Buttigieg had strong nights,” said Warren. “And I also want to congratulate my friend and colleague Amy Klobuchar for showing just how wrong the pundits can be when they count a woman out.”
Warren told supporters the Democratic Party is in for a long primary fight ahead.
“The question for us, Democrats, is whether it will be a long, bitter rehash of the same old divides in our party, or whether we can find another way,” said Warren.
She said the fight between the Democratic Party’s factions had grown too sharp in recent weeks.
“These harsh tactics might work if you’re willing to burn down the rest of the party in order to be the last man standing,” said Warren. She promised supporters she is ready to continue the fight for her party’s nomination.
“Tonight I have a message for our party and for this nation: Our best chance of beating Donald Trump is with a candidate who can do the work — I mean the hard, disciplined work,” said Warren. “But our campaign is built for the long haul. And we are just getting started.”
As early results showed former South Bend, Ind. mayor Pete Buttigieg within a few thousand votes of frontrunner Sanders, the optimistic crowd at Buttigieg’s primary night rally at Nashua Community College got more energetic.
“I think he can take it all the way,” an excited Amanda Swendson of Salisbury said of Buttigieg. “He is the calm we need after the storm.”
As supporters waited for an appearance from Buttigieg, Swendson said his campaign has been strong, and will continue to gain momentum past the New Hampshire primary election.
The crowd started chanting “Pete for President!”
Supporters for Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar at Concord’s Grappone Center gathered around a large-screen television, catching updates as the early results showed Klobuchar in third place. They hoped her weekend surge in fundraising and poll support would mean a strong finish in New Hampshire.
“I love her honesty. I love her personality. I love her presentation. She seems to be one of us.” said David Hughes, a business owner from Hopkinton who came to the rally with his wife, Tracey.
Margo Burns of Manchester, director of the language center at St. Paul’s School in Concord, said she’s been supporting Klobuchar since she launched her campaign.
Michael Filler, a retired school psychologist who recently moved from Connecticut to Barrington, said he was also drawn to Klobuchar’s down-to-earth personality and track record in the U.S. Senate.
“She comes across as one of us. She comes across as a mom that can get things done.”
During the day, candidates spent one last day on the trail, greeting voters outside polling places around the state.
A flurry of candidates greeted voters as polls opened Tuesday morning at Webster Elementary School, including Klobuchar, Warren, Buttigieg, Sen. Michael Bennet and former Massachusetts governors Deval Patrick and Bill Weld.
Biden off to South Carolina
After former Vice President Joe Biden visited a polling place on the West Side, his campaign announced that the former vice president would not watch returns with supporters in Nashua.
Instead, Biden decamped to South Carolina, where polls show him still in first place. Biden’s campaign rolled out a list of Louisiana endorsers midday, demonstrating an increased focus on the south.
He left a few Granite State supporters disappointed.
Maurice J. Thibaudeau of Manchester showed up at the McLaughlin Middle School in support of Biden even after learning he planned to leave.
“He shouldn’t have left. For me, it is not the right thing to do,” Thibaudeau said.
Tom Steyer, the California billionaire businessman, was not in the Granite State at all Tuesday. He spent the day in Nevada, site of the next presidential nominating contest.