- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 27, 2004

MANCHESTER, N.H. — John Kerry won the New Hampshire Democratic presidential primary last night, adding to his victory last week in Iowa, and trouncing former front-runner Howard Dean, who came in second.

“I love New Hampshire,” Mr. Kerry said in declaring victory about 9:35 p.m. “I love Iowa, too. And I hope with your help to have the blessings and the opportunity to love a lot of other states.”

“Now this campaign goes on to places all over this country,” he said. “I ask Democrats everywhere to join us so we can defeat George W. Bush and the economy of privilege, and so that we can fulfill the ideal of opportunity, not just for some, but for all Americans.”

Mr. Dean, meanwhile, told his supporters that he’s still confident.

“The people of New Hampshire have allowed our campaign to regain its momentum and I am very grateful,” he said. “The people of New Hampshire have allowed all of you to hope again we’re going to have real change in America.”

With all precincts reporting, Mr. Kerry had 38 percent of the vote and 84,229 votes, while Mr. Dean had 26 percent and 57,788 votes.

In the critical battle for the third position, Wesley Clark had 12 percent and 27,254 votes, narrowly leading Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina, who had 12 percent and 26,415 votes. Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut was in fifth with 9 percent and 18,829 votes.

“Look at what we’ve done. This momentum is extraordinary,” Mr. Edwards told supporters at his party.

“Now, we’re going to take this energy and momentum that we saw in Iowa, this extraordinary energy and momentum we saw in New Hampshire, and we’re going to take it right through Feb. 3. We’re going to see great victories on Feb. 3,” he said.

Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich had 3,104 votes, or 1 percent, similar to his distant showing in the Iowa caucuses on Jan. 19. The Rev. Al Sharpton of New York, who did not campaign in New Hampshire, got 345 votes.

Yesterday was Mr. Dean’s second collapse. At the beginning of this year, polls showed him leading in Iowa as well as New Hampshire, the latter by double digits.

But he told MSNBC that the race is now a two-person contest.

“Now this is going to end up as a contest between whether you want a Washington insider as the nominee or someone who’s going to stand up and fight for middle-class families,” he said.

Still, Mr. Kerry’s vote total was just about the same as that of Mr. Clark and Mr. Dean combined, the two candidates who claimed outsider status as figures without Washington experience.

Mr. Kerry has now won the first two binding nomination contests, and no candidate since Democrat Edmund Muskie in 1972 has won Iowa and New Hampshire and not won his party’s nomination.

Yesterday, Mr. Kerry paid particular attention to his military record and fellow veterans.

“This victory also belongs in a special way to the veterans who marched with us and lifted us up from the lowest points to where we stand tonight,” he said, shortly after calling out from the crowd Sen. Max Cleland of Georgia, who lost three limbs while serving in Vietnam.

“In the hardest moments of the past month, I depended on the same band of brothers I depended on more than thirty years ago. We’re a little older, a little grayer, but we still know how to fight for our country,” said Mr. Kerry, also a Vietnam veteran.

None of the candidates is expected to drop out before the next round of seven primaries and caucuses on Feb. 3. That’s when South Carolina, Missouri, Delaware, Oklahoma and Arizona hold Democratic primaries, and North Dakota and New Mexico hold caucuses.

Democratic officials badly want to unify behind a candidate as soon as possible. Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe has said that no candidate can survive past Feb. 3 without a victory by then.

Though South Carolina garners the most attention as the first primary in the South and the first where black voters play a major role, the biggest delegate prize is Missouri, which is very much in play since Richard A. Gephardt, a congressman from the state, dropped out after his fourth-place showing in Iowa.

Meanwhile, Hispanic voters, a constituency both parties are hoping to court, will play a large role in the New Mexico and Arizona contests.

Mr. Clark and Mr. Lieberman ignored the Iowa caucuses and made New Hampshire their first stand, which meant that in the days leading up to the Jan. 19 caucuses they had New Hampshire voters as a captive audience. But it doesn’t seem to have paid off for either.

Two weeks ago, polls had Mr. Clark in a solid second place behind Mr. Dean, with about one-fifth of the vote — much better than his actual showing yesterday. And Mr. Lieberman simply never gained much momentum in the state.

But both candidates have pledged not to let New Hampshire define their campaigns. Mr. Lieberman is predicting a strong showing in Oklahoma and Delaware, and Mr. Clark is planning major efforts in Oklahoma, New Mexico and Arizona and at least will campaign in Missouri and South Carolina.

“Four months later, we came into New Hampshire as one of the elite eight. Tonight, we leave New Hampshire as one of the final four,” Mr. Clark said at his post-election party, adding that “there are still a couple more rounds to go.”

“I leave New Hampshire a smarter, better, stronger, and even more determined candidate. And never underestimate what a determined soldier can accomplish when he’s fighting for his country,” he said.

For his part, Mr. Lieberman said he was treating the results as a three-way tie for third place.

“Based on the returns that we’ve seen tonight, thanks to the people of New Hampshire, we are in a three-way split decision for third place,” he said. “Today the people of New Hampshire put me in the ring, and that’s where we’re going to stay.”

Some of the candidates have made specific travel plans to the Feb. 3 states, while others were waiting to see the New Hampshire results. The candidates are expected to be in South Carolina on Thursday for another debate.

Mr. Kerry’s campaign said it plans to contest all seven states, while Mr. Dean’s campaign indicated that it will begin paying attention to states farther out in the process, such as Michigan, which holds caucuses Feb. 7, and Wisconsin, whose primary is on Feb. 17.

Republicans also had their primary in New Hampshire, and though Mr. Bush was unopposed, thousands of Republicans turned out to support his nomination.

Like Democrats across the nation and last week in Iowa, many New Hampshire voters said Mr. Kerry was the best man to defeat Mr. Bush, but most said they will support the eventual nominee, no matter who he is.

“I’d be comfortable voting for any of them,” said Keith Dunfey, a Dean supporter, outside his voting place in Manchester.

“Anyone to beat Bush,” said Shauna Baker, 33, a Kerry supporter.

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