There are a handful of localities in New Hampshire that vote just after midnight in a quadrennial tradition going back to 1960. These locations are small, mind you, no more than a dozen or so votes between Dixville Notch, Hart’s Location and Millsfield. They don’t tell us too much, but that doesn’t stop local and national media from reporting the minuscule numbers.
Related: 2020 New Hampshire Primary Results
The results this time around, however, were anything but straightforward, as local WMUR-TV reports:
Dixville Notch kicked off the primary festivities Tuesday as they have done for decades, and the result was described as “interesting.”
Michael Bloomberg got three write-in votes, one of which was a write-in vote in the Republican primary. It’s a rarity in Dixville Notch for write-in votes. Pete Buttigieg and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders each got one vote.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar was the popular choice in Hart’s Location, receiving six votes in the Democratic race. Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren came in second with four votes. Andrew Yang and Sanders followed with three votes and two votes, respectively. Former vice president Joe Biden, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard and Tom Steyer each received one vote.
In Millsfield, Klobuchar took home the win in the Democratic race with two votes. Biden, Buttigieg and Sanders each got one vote. Trump received 16 votes from Millsfield. Former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld got one vote.
Seeing Bloomberg’s name as a write-in is a testament to how much his national advertising is paying off in terms of building support, even in places where his name isn’t on the ballot. The early results from these localities aren’t usually very predictive for anything since they’re such a small number of votes, but the tradition lives on regardless.
Biden jumps ship, heads to South Carolina
In other news, however, and perhaps based on some internal early results of his own, former vice president Joe Biden has abruptly canceled his appearances in New Hampshire this evening and is leaving the state to head south:
The former vice president abruptly announced on Tuesday morning that he won’t spend primary night in New Hampshire as planned and instead is flying to South Carolina to headline a kick-off rally in the state he’s long considered his campaign firewall.
“We’re going to head to South Carolina tonight,” Biden told reporters as he visited a polling station with voting underway in the state that holds the first primary in the race for the White House. “And I’m going to Nevada… we’ve got to look at them all.”
The campaign confirmed Biden is now canceling his originally scheduled appearance at a primary night party in Nashua, N.H., and will be in South Carolina instead.
What’s the sense of sticking around in a state you’re not going to win, or potentially even place in the top three, or four? Biden’s last, best hope is South Carolina right now so he’s going to take the head start and get running on the ground there.
Biden’s argument of electability has all-but vanished, as his performance in Iowa was terrible, and his national support is eroding. In fact, Biden himself called the entire Democratic field “electable” while speaking yesterday to voters, something he wouldn’t have said months ago.
Unless something turns around drastically over the next two weeks heading into Super Tuesday on March 3, Biden will need a miracle to keep his fundraising alive and keep voters interested. If he finishes outside the top three in New Hampshire, he’ll lose a lot of the remaining momentum he’s trying to retain by going to South Carolina early.
For what it’s worth, Biden says he’s not “writing off” New Hampshire, but it seems hard to “campaign like hell” if you’re not in the state:
Asked the next day by Fox News if he was writing off the Granite State, the former vice president fired back, saying “I’m not writing off New Hampshire. I’m going to campaign like hell here in New Hampshire, as I’m going to do in Nevada, in South Carolina and beyond. Look, this is just getting going here. This is a marathon.”
At some point, every campaign must take a hard look at the field and decide where to place its resources. For Biden, that place is South Carolina. Staying in New Hampshire and speaking later tonight, or waiting around, will inevitably make his trek to South Carolina more arduous if he does poorly.
Here is speaking to reporters this morning:
— POLITICO (@politico) February 11, 2020
At least in this case, for Biden, he can roll into South Carolina tonight and pretend New Hampshire is in the rearview.
Related: 2020 New Hampshire Primary Results