Sanders defeats Clinton in NH
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MANCHESTER, N.H. — Bernie SandersBernie SandersLive Coverage: Senate votes down 'skinny' ObamaCare repeal Sanders: Senate healthcare fight 'totally bananas' Overnight Defense: Military won't lift transgender ban until Trump sends directions | House passes national security spending | Russian sanctions bill heads to Trump MORE has defeated Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonPeggy Noonan: ‘Weak and sniveling’ Trump is not as strong as his wife Sessions says he doesn't regret recusing himself from Russia probe Judiciary Committee Republicans want a second special counsel: report MORE in the Democratic presidential primary in New Hampshire.

Clinton immediately conceded the race as media organizations called it for the Vermont Independent.

The Associated Press, MSNBC and CNN all called the race for Sanders as the final polls closed at 8 p.m. EST. The AP had only reported about 10 percent of the vote, with Sanders leading by a margin of 56 percent to 42 percent. 

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Sanders’s victory further legitimizes his long-shot challenge against Clinton, who led here by 40 points before the avowed democratic socialist came out of nowhere to galvanize the party's progressive base.



The Clinton campaign has buffered itself against the prospect of losing New Hampshire, arguing that Sanders, who hails from a neighboring state, was the hometown favorite and always expected to win.



Still, only six months ago, nobody expected anything resembling a close race for Clinton. Now, Democrats are bracing for a protracted primary.



The former first lady's campaign said as much in a memo Tuesday night conceding the primary. 

"The nomination will very likely be won in March, not February, and we believe that Hillary Clinton is well positioned to build a strong – potentially insurmountable – delegate lead next month." 

Polling shows Clinton still has prohibitive leads among African-American and Hispanic voters, who will be important constituencies in the next Democratic contests. Nevada has a strong contingent of Hispanic voters, and South Carolina has a significant African-American population.

 

In its memo, the Clinton campaign set its sights those two upcoming races, where she holds a substantial lead. 

Polling is sparse in Nevada, where voters will caucus on Feb. 20, but Clinton leads by 20 points there, according to the RealClearPolitics average. The last poll, however, was conducted in late December; most polls were conducted in the spring, summer and early fall. 

In South Carolina, which has a Feb. 27 primary date and more up-to-date polling, Clinton leads by 30 points.


"After splitting the first two contests, an outcome we've long anticipated, attention will inevitably focus on the next two of the 'early four states,' " Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook wrote in Tuesday's memo. "We've built first-rate organizations in each state and we feel very good about our prospects for success."

For Sanders, the next two contests will be his proving ground. Iowa and New Hampshire, with their strong contingents of white progressives, were always seen as good fits for his brand of politics.



Sanders has made a point of courting minority voters and will need to make inroads with them to win in subsequent contests.