Bernie Sanders will win Tuesday’s New Hampshire Democratic primary, NBC News projected.
The Vermont senator led former South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota just after 11 p.m. ET. They are projected to finish second and third, respectively.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and former Vice President Joe Biden were vying for fourth place. Neither candidate will reach the 15% threshold needed to win pledged delegates, statewide and in both of its congressional districts.
The victory gives Sanders an early boost in the push for the Democratic presidential nomination after he left the Iowa caucuses with the second-most pledged national delegates in the field. The process now enters a series of generally larger, more diverse states, where the Vermont senator has outperformed Buttigieg and Klobuchar in polls.
“Let me say tonight that this victory here is the beginning of the end for Donald Trump,” he told supporters as news outlets started to project his victory.
Sanders and Buttigieg are expected to be awarded the same number of delegates in New Hampshire: nine each, according to NBC News. Klobuchar is projected to win six. Both Buttigieg and Klobuchar appeared to perform well with late-deciding voters.
“Thanks to you, a campaign that some said shouldn’t be here at all has showed that we are here to stay,” the former mayor told supporters.
The first-in-the-nation primary is a key proving ground for candidates in the field hoping to take on President Donald Trump, which was 11 people strong entering Tuesday. Buttigieg left the nation’s first nominating contest, the Iowa caucuses, with the most pledged national delegates. Sanders followed closely behind him.
The early nominating contests have typically narrowed the primary field. Entrepreneur Andrew Yang became the first candidate to suspend his campaign after the New Hampshire results started coming in Tuesday night, followed by Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado. They found themselves well behind the primary leaders as data trickled in.
In speaking to supporters Tuesday night, several candidates argued they had the best shot to deny the president a second term. Klobuchar started her remarks by saying, “I’m Amy Klobuchar, and I will beat Donald Trump.”
Warren, despite a poor performance in the state that neighbors her home of Massachusetts, cast herself as “a nominee that the broadest coalition of our party feels they can get behind.”
Buttigieg and Sanders, who has overtaken Biden in national polling averages, came into the Granite State with a chance to build on a strong Iowa showing. Klobuchar looked to gain a measure of legitimacy for her campaign. Meanwhile, Warren and Biden aimed to improve on third and fourth-place finishes, respectively, in Iowa.
The former vice president, who emerged as an early front-runner as he made his case as the best Democrat to beat President Donald Trump, left New Hampshire on Tuesday night for South Carolina. All of his rivals for the nomination planned to hold gatherings with supporters in New Hampshire on primary night.
The former vice president has led polls of the state, driven by overwhelming support from black voters. Speaking to supporters in Columbia, South Carolina, he pointed out that nearly all of the African-American and Latino voters in the country have not cast ballots yet.
“It ain’t over, man. We’re just getting started,” he said. “Our votes count, too. … You can’t be the Democratic nominee and you can’t win the general election as a Democrat unless you have overwhelming support from black and brown voters.”
In New Hampshire, half of Democrats said they decided in the last few days, while the other half said they made up their minds earlier, according to NBC News exit polls.
The polls asked what mattered most to voters out of four issues: health care, climate change, income inequality and foreign policy. More than a third, 37% chose health care. About a quarter, or 24%, picked climate change, while 23% answered income inequality.
Another 10% chose foreign policy.
This story is developing. Please check back for updates.