LOS ANGELES - Tuesday, Feb. 11 marks the New Hampshire primary, where state voters will cast their ballots for who they want to represent their respective party at the larger Republican and Democratic national conventions.
Here’s what you need to know about the New Hampshire primary:
It’s an early litmus test of how voters are feeling about candidates and issues.
New Hampshire’s primary is the first in the country. It is also the second major election event of 2020, with the first being the Iowa Caucus.
Although the number of delegates that Iowa and New Hampshire offer are fewer than other states, both candidates and the media are able to get a glimpse of how they are faring among delegates — and voters at large — through these events.
Pete Buttigieg appears to have received the most votes in the Iowa caucus, but Bernie Sanders is still the frontrunner heading into the primary.
The former Mayor of South Bend, Indiana garnered 13 state delegate equivalents in Iowa, with his next closest competitor, Bernie Sanders, earning 12. Buttigieg earned 564 votes in that caucus compared to Sanders’ 562.
But the public didn’t know for a few days who was truly ahead in Iowa due to an error with the technology used to count votes that has called the results into question, leading the chair of the Democratic National Committee, Tom Perez, to call for a recanvass of the votes to verify the integrity of the results.
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Feb.7 poll data from the politics and analysis website FiveThirtyEight indicated that Sanders was the favorite going into the New Hampshire primary, projected to garner 26.4% of the vote in New Hampshire, compared to Buttigieg’s projected 19.1%.
The two candidates immediately behind Sanders and Buttigieg are former Vice President Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren, the Democratic U.S. Senator from Massachusetts.
Speaking of which, what’s the difference between a primary and a caucus?
Caucuses, like the one held in Iowa, happen on a local level, with individuals indicating their support for candidates. “After arriving at a Democratic caucus site, participants essentially divide into groups based on their preferred candidate,” according to FOX News.
Primaries, like the one held in New Hampshire, are statewide initiatives similar to the actual voting process that citizens take part in on election day. Individuals at primaries actually cast their ballot in secret, whereas in caucuses, one’s support for a particular candidate is displayed publicly.
How many delegates does the winner in New Hampshire get?
Depending on who receives the most votes in the primary, they will end up receiving 24 Democratic delegates.
Since that 24 is so small compared to the overall number of democratic delegates (4,750), why is New Hampshire still so important?
Momentum. For Buttigieg or Sanders, winning New Hampshire could give them increased attention heading into the other caucuses and primaries throughout the year.
As for candidates like Biden, Warren, U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar, Andrew Yang, and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, weaker polling results may indicate that they could choose to drop out of the race shortly after New Hampshire.
Losing New Hampshire doesn’t mean that either candidate would be out of the running, nor does winning ensure they’ll receive the nomination, let alone the presidency. Former President Barack Obama lost in the New Hampshire primary to Hillary Clinton in 2008. And while Sanders won the state’s primary in 2016, the nomination ultimately went to Hillary Clinton, who lost in the election to Donald Trump.
Why isn’t there as much emphasis on the Republican primaries in New Hampshire?
President Donald Trump is seeking a second term and the only other Republican candidate challenging him for the nomination is Bill Weld, former governor of Massachusetts.
This story was reported from Los Angeles.