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Patriots Democratic Primary Round-Up: Klobu-Surge?

Virginia Kruta Associate Editor
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With the first two contests over, the 2020 Democratic Primary is officially underway. And despite a rocky start in Iowa, a clearer field has begun to emerge.

The primary season began with a whimper as the Iowa caucuses imploded when the vote tallying and reporting app failed. Indiana’s Mayor Pete Buttigieg and independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders both effectively declared victory, but the real vote tallies may never be known.

The standouts:

  • Buttigieg was the surprise in Iowa, besting Sanders in State Delegate Equivalents (SDEs) although the Vermont Sen. held onto the popular vote. Buttigieg, who favors disbanding the Electoral College and going to the National Popular Vote, has not suggested the Democrats adopt a popular vote system for the primary.
  • Sanders was expected to perform well both in Iowa (which he narrowly lost in 2016) and New Hampshire, and he did — but the rise of both Buttigieg and Klobuchar made for a close showing in both states.
  • Klobuchar surprised everyone when she ran away with a solid third place showing in New Hampshire.

The washouts:

  • Warren was expected to do reasonably well in New Hampshire but finished a disappointing fourth with just 9.2% of the vote — less than half the votes racked up by Klobuchar, who finished third. The Massachusetts Sen. responded with class, saying, “Right now it is clear that Senator Sanders and Mayor Buttigieg had strong nights. I also want to congratulate my friend and colleague Amy Klobuchar for showing just how wrong the pundits can be when they count a woman out.”
  • Former Vice President Joe Biden, who was leading in the polls even before he entered the race, “took a gut punch” in Iowa. As the results began pouring in from New Hampshire, Biden left the state to campaign in South Carolina — leaving campaign surrogates and volunteers to wait for what was another disappointing showing.
  • Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who some expect to be the moderate alternative if the Biden campaign crumbles, has continued to poll reasonably well but spent most of the last week apologizing for comments he made years ago about “Stop and Frisk” and other issues.

The dropouts:

  • Entrepreneur Andrew Yang and Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet hung it up as the New Hampshire results were still rolling in.
  • Former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick announced he was suspending his campaign a day later.

The opposition:

The hot takes:

  • Meghan McCain said on ABC’s “The View” that after New Hampshire, it was difficult to see a path forward for Warren.
  • Biden, who is hanging his campaign on Nevada and South Carolina, said that he could “hardly wait” to get Trump on the debate stage.

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