Joe Biden dealt major blow by fifth-place finish in New Hampshire

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Former vice-president came in behind Sanders, Buttigieg, Klobuchar and Warren in key primary

Joe Bidens bid to win the Democratic nomination for president and face off against Donald Trump in a battle for the White House was dealt a heavy blow on Tuesday as the former vice-president sank to a disastrous fifth place in the key New Hampshire primary.

The Vermont senator and democratic socialist Bernie Sanders romped to a win and centrists Amy Klobuchar, the Minnesota senator, and Pete Buttigieg, the former South Bend mayor, both performed well, throwing Bidens anaemic less than 10% of the vote into sharp relief.

No doubt sensing the loss, Biden had in fact left the state long before the polls had closed, and headed to South Carolina where hes betting his traditionally strong support among black voters will serve as a firewall for his campaigns survival. That state is friendlier turf for Biden compared with the overwhelmingly white early voting states of Iowa and New Hampshire.

Before voting began in Iowa Biden had been a clear frontrunner in almost all national polls, running on his rsum as Barack Obamas right-hand man during his two terms in the White House. Biden also earned the overwhelming share of endorsements from elected officials across the nation as party leaders sought a relatively safe nominee to run against Trump.

Biden addressed his abandoned supporters at his primary night event in New Hampshire via a live stream from South Carolina. Now we are moving on [to] Nevada and South Carolina and beyond, beyond, Biden told a small group gathered in a hotel in Nashua. Well see you in the general.

He added: I do love New Hampshire and I mean it.

Later at a gathering of supporters in South Carolina Biden made a clear appeal to black voters to get behind his campaign, repeatedly referencing his time in office with Americas first black president. I had the back of a great president named Barack Obama for eight years, he said to cheers.

Biden had spent the week after the Iowa caucuses where he came in fourth downplaying expectations for his performance in New Hampshire.

Biden has said the next two voting states, Nevada and South Carolina, will be the launching pad for his candidacy, but national polls already indicate he has taken a hit from his poor showing in Iowa. Biden plans to travel later in the week to Nevada, which holds its caucus vote later this month.

If his campaign continues to lose out to other centrists like Buttigieg and Klobuchar,Biden will face fresh questions over whether he is actually the most electable candidate, as he has repeatedly claimed and painted as the core value of his campaign.

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