MANCHESTER, N.H. (CBS) – The New Hampshire Primary is finally here and there’s a lot on the line Tuesday for the Democrats running to challenge President Donald Trump in November.
After the Iowa caucuses debacle last week, New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation presidential primary hopes to produce the first clear leader in the Democratic Party’s race for the White House. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg came out of Iowa in a virtual tie and both were at the top of the WBZ-TV Boston Globe Suffolk University tracking poll in New Hampshire in the last week.READ MORE: Body Of Missing Swimmer Recovered From Hyde Park Pond
Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar has surged in the polls after a strong debate Friday night and there’s a chance she could finish ahead of Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren and former Vice President Joe Biden, who both need a strong showing in New Hampshire to give their campaigns some much needed momentum.
Biden, anticipating poor results in New Hampshire, told reporters Tuesday he won’t stick around to watch the returns and will head to South Carolina Tuesday night to prepare for the primary there.
“We’re going to go down to South Carolina and we’re going to be heading to Nevada and we take all four of those as a unit in terms of getting a sense of where you are and then we go on to the Super Tuesday states and I feel good in all those places,” Biden told WBZ-TV.
Three small New Hampshire towns started voting at midnight; Klobuchar came away the early winner there. She ended up with a total of eight votes combined from Dixville Notch, Millsfield, and Hart’s Location. Sanders and Warren had four each.
However, there was a surprise in Dixville Notch, where Mike Bloomberg was the winner, even though he’s not on the ballot in New Hampshire. He won with three write-in votes.
Klobuchar said the small town victories were an encouraging start to the day as she campaigned at the Parker-Varney School in Manchester.
“I think this cold weather is good for us. It brings out our supporters,” Klobuchar told reporters.
Warren and Buttigieg were also out at several polling stations in the early morning hoping to sway any voter who was still undecided.READ MORE: 'It's Really Disturbing': Harvard Student In Surfside, Florida Describes Scene Of Building Collapse
Buttigieg was greeted with chants of “President Pete” as he met supporters outside the Broad Street Elementary School in Nashua and the Webster Elementary School in Manchester.
“I need to pull off a big success and it feels like it’s shaping up well,” he told reporters.
Sanders got a later start, meeting with voters at a polling station in Manchester.
Two former Massachusetts governors in the race, Deval Patrick and William Weld, bumped into each other while greeting voters outside the Webster School in Manchester Tuesday morning. Patrick was a late entry in the Democratic race. Weld is challenging President Trump in the Republican primary.
New Hampshire election officials said they over-prepared for this primary to make sure it goes much smoother than the Iowa caucuses. While the process may be easy for voters, picking a candidate was the difficult part for some.
“It went down to the wire for me. They all have something to offer,” voter Joanne Fagan told WBZ. “It was really hard and my vote was based on who I think can beat Trump.”
“I was going between two candidates and last night I decided which candidate I’d vote for,” said Bedford voter Justin Steichen.
The polls close at 7 p.m.MORE NEWS: 'Our Roads Need Attention Now': Attleboro Official Says State Can't Afford 2 Month Sales Tax Holiday
“I would think we could possibly give the results about 30 minutes after the polls close,” Bedford Town Moderator Bill Klein told WBZ.