Posted 11:49pm January 28
by Vanessa Maltin
U-WIRE Washington Bureau
With a record high voter turnout, Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., claimed his second consecutive victory Tuesday night in New Hampshire’s Democratic primary, securing his front runner status in the fierce race for his party’s nomination.
“I love New Hampshire,” Kerry said after embracing his family, friends and supporters. “I love Iowa too and I hope with your help and blessing to have the opportunity to love a lot of other states as well.”
With 95 percent of precincts reporting Kerry earned 39 percent of the votes, with former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean a distant second at 26 percent.
Retired Gen. Wesley Clark placed third with Senator John Edwards of North Carolina a close fourth. Trailing behind were Sen. Joseph Lieberman, D-Conn., Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, and the Rev. Al Sharpton.
In an interview with CNN’s Larry King, Dean said that he was pleased with his solid second place finish and that his campaign did what they wanted to do in the Granite State.
“The only way to beat Bush is to bring in someone from outside of Washington to work for American families,” Dean said. “I am a Governor, I have balanced budgets, and have delivered health care. I know we can’t win every state, but we still have to try.”
Questioned if he would accept a vice presidential offer, Edwards said he was very encouraged with his standing and thought it was remarkable that he was able to come from 20 points behind in the polls.
“I intend to be the nominee,” he said. Edwards said that in the next few weeks he will visit states where he would naturally be strong and believes his message will help him rise in the polls.
Clark hoped this win would bring life into his campaign, as the media had all but pronounced it dead in the past week.
“Never, never underestimate what a determined soldier can accomplish when he’s fighting for his country,” he said.
With his win, Kerry thanked New Hampshire for rising to the cause for all Americans. “Victory belongs to all of you who made phone calls and walked snowy streets. You gave hearts, hands, and countless sleepless nights,” Kerry said. “Because of you this has been a happy and successful campaign.”
While New Hampshire and Iowa represent only 1.5 percent of the delegates at stake for the nomination, New Hampshire voters said they expect Kerry’s strong showing in the two states to guide voters in the primaries ahead.
“I think Kerry’s win will bring a great deal of momentum to his campaign,” said Christine Swisher, a junior at the George Washington University and a New Hampshire voter who personally met with many of the presidential candidates. “Citizens of New Hampshire have a great tradition of getting to know candidates very well and if the rest of America listens to the voices of New Hampshire voters they can get great insight into the candidates.”
And campaign officials agreed. “He looked Iowa and New Hampshire voters in the eye and they looked back and said they think John Kerry is the best man to take on Bush,” said Kerry campaign spokesman, Michael Meehan.
To a raucous crowd chanting, “bring it on”, Kerry said he not only intended to bring it on, but also had a message for President Bush.
“We’re coming, you’re going and don’t let the door hit you on the way out.”