Biden, Warren on ropes after delegate shutout

Biden, Warren on ropes after delegate shutout
Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenTrump campaign launches Asian Pacific Americans coalition Biden: 'More than one African American woman' being considered for VP Liberal group asks Klobuchar to remove herself from VP consideration because of prosecutorial record MORE and Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenThe Memo: Trump ratchets up Twitter turmoil Hillicon Valley: Twitter flags Trump tweet for 'glorifying violence' | Cruz calls for criminal investigation into Twitter over alleged sanctions violations | Senators urge FTC to investigate TikTok child privacy issues Warren condemns 'horrific' Trump tweet on Minneapolis protests, other senators chime in MORE (D-Mass.) fell short of winning any delegates in New Hampshire's first-in-the-nation primary, raising new questions about their viability as presidential candidates ahead of a long slog toward the next contests on the calendar.
 
The results of Tuesday's vote, in which Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersThe battle of two Cubas Coronavirus Report: The Hill's Steve Clemons interviews Rep. Ro Khanna Democrats gear up to hit GOP senators on DACA MORE (I-Vt.) narrowly held off former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegBiden hopes to pick VP by Aug. 1 It's as if a Trump operative infiltrated the Democratic primary process Here's how Biden can win over the minority vote and the Rust Belt MORE, represented a substantial blow to both Biden and Warren. Their vote totals combined did not equal the surprise third-place finisher, Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharLiberal group asks Klobuchar to remove herself from VP consideration because of prosecutorial record Klobuchar on defense as Floyd death puts spotlight on record Officer involved in George Floyd death charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter MORE (D-Minn.), who surged after a strong debate performance on Friday.
 
Sanders won on the strength of his leads in New Hampshire's largest cities. He led his chief rivals in Manchester by more than 2,000 votes and in Concord and Nashua by 500 votes each. Buttigieg performed best in communities south of Manchester, in Boston sleeper suburbs and in college towns such as Hanover, home of Dartmouth College. 
 
Biden, once the national front-runner, has now finished an embarrassing fourth in Iowa and fifth in New Hampshire. Warren, the neighboring state's senator who claimed almost a third of the Democratic vote in an October poll, edged Biden out by less than a percentage point for fourth place.
 
The two candidates — who between them led 20 of the 39 polls of New Hampshire primary voters conducted before the Iowa caucuses — now face a grueling 11-day slog to the next contest in Nevada and an 18-day wait for the South Carolina primary. Both will have to convince donors and supporters they can regroup and rebuild their campaigns to score a win.
 
There were troubling signs for both Biden and Warren in Tuesday's outcome. 
 
Biden is losing the electability argument. Among the 63 percent of New Hampshire voters who told exit pollsters they would rather nominate a candidate who could beat President TrumpDonald John TrumpMichael Flynn transcripts reveal plenty except crime or collusion 50 people arrested in Minneapolis as hundreds more National Guard troops deployed Missouri state lawmaker sparks backlash by tweeting 'looters deserve to be shot' MORE, Buttigieg took 28 percent. Just 11 percent chose Biden, whose entire campaign is premised on the notion that he is best able to defeat the president.
 
Warren, who famously has a plan for everything, is getting beat among those who value plans over electability. Among the 33 percent of voters who said they preferred a candidate who agreed with them on major issues, more than a third chose Sanders, and only a tiny fraction chose Warren. Among the three in five voters who said they supported replacing America's health care system with a single-payer plan, three times as many chose Sanders over Warren.
 
Both Biden and Warren took steps Tuesday to distance themselves from the New Hampshire results, even before the polls closed.
 
Biden decamped to South Carolina, bailing on a planned election night celebration in Nashua in favor of what his campaign dubbed a "kickoff" with Rep. Cedric RichmondCedric Levon RichmondStates plead for cybersecurity funds as hacking threat surges Democrats lobby Biden on VP choice Bottom line MORE (D-La.). South Carolina, where the primary electorate is more than half African American, has become Biden's must-win state, his last pivotal chance to prove his viability before the campaign goes national on Super Tuesday.
 
Warren stayed in New Hampshire to concede, offering kind words to Klobuchar and pledging to fight on. In a memo to supporters, Warren campaign manager Roger Lau wrote that Warren's candidate remains "the consensus choice of the widest coalition of Democrats in every corner of the country." He said Warren's formidable campaign organization was poised to win delegates across most of the states and districts that will vote on Super Tuesday,and that her ceiling is higher than Biden's, Sanders's or Buttigieg's.
 
Each campaign will now have to convince its chief supporters that its candidate still has a path to the 1,990 delegates necessary to win the convention. Without the support necessary to sustain mushrooming national field organizations and seven-figure television budgets, any candidate's campaign withers and dies; when a candidate loses or falls short of expectations, those money problems mount even more rapidly.
 
But after two early contests in which Sanders demonstrated his years of organizing and Buttigieg overperformed in his final poll numbers, both Biden and Warren face serious challenges. 
 
Biden's South Carolina firewall is under sustained assault from billionaire former hedge fund manager Tom SteyerTom SteyerBloomberg wages war on COVID-19, but will he abandon his war on coal? Overnight Energy: 600K clean energy jobs lost during pandemic, report finds | Democrats target diseases spread by wildlife | Energy Dept. to buy 1M barrels of oil Ocasio-Cortez, Schiff team up to boost youth voter turnout MORE, whose campaign has spent heavily to win over African American supporters. Once Super Tuesday rolls around, Biden's support among black voters will be tested by former New York City Mayor Michael BloombergMichael BloombergIt's as if a Trump operative infiltrated the Democratic primary process Liberals embrace super PACs they once shunned .7 billion expected to be spent in 2020 campaign despite coronavirus: report MORE, who has spent an unprecedented amount of money on television spots.
 
Warren, too, faces the challenge of breaking through for the first time. She does not lead in polls in Nevada, South Carolina or most Super Tuesday states — the last poll she led was an October WBUR-MassInc survey of her home state's voters — and it is unclear where she will score her first win.
 
"The road to the Democratic nomination is not paved with statewide winner-take-all victories. This is not a race for governor, the U.S. Senate or the state treasurer's office," Lau wrote in his memo. "This is a district-by-district contest for pledged delegates awarded proportionally."