CONCORD, N.H. — Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. narrowly won Tuesday night’s Democratic New Hampshire primary, with third-place Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn. getting the support of frequent church-goers.
Overall, Sanders received 73,809 votes in the Granite State, almost 26% of the vote. Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, was just 4,000 votes behind with more than 24% of the vote. The two continued their strong performance at last week’s Iowa caucuses where Buttigieg narrowly beat out Sanders in the race for state delegate equivalents.
On Tuesday, Sen. Klobuchar surged into third place with 56,576 votes, almost 20% of the vote.
In distant fourth was Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., with 26,434 votes, or 9.25%. Former vice president Joe Biden, viewed for months as the top front-runner in the Democratic field for 2020, failed to finish in the top three for the second straight week, after his fourth-place finish in the Iowa caucus. He received 24,734 votes on Tuesday.
Sen. Klobuchar won the support of frequent attendees of religious services, although this group comprised only a small portion of the voters on Tuesday night. Most voters said they attend religious services either “occasionally” or “never.”
NBC News exit polls reported Sen. Klobuchar receiving 27% support from those attending religious services weekly or more. Similarly, Washington Post exit polls showed Sen. Klobuchar winning 28% of this vote, with Sanders finishing in a distant second with 15% support.
Among those attending church “occasionally,” Buttigieg bested the other candidates with 26%, and Sen. Klobuchar with 23%, in the Post exit polls. Among those “never” attending church, Sen. Sanders performed the highest with 35% support, to Buttigieg’s 22%.
Sen. Klobuchar has made headlines in recent days for branching out from the other Democratic candidates’ insistance that being pro-abortion is “essential” for party membership, or that they would do without the votes of pro-life Democrats if necessary.
Appearing on ABC’s “The View” on Tuesday, Sen. Klobuchar welcomed the support of pro-life Democrats while maintaining that “I am strongly pro-choice.”
“I believe we’re a big-tent party. And there are pro-life Democrats, and they are a part of our party,” she said. “I think we need to bring people in instead of shutting them out.”
Meanwhile, over the weekend in New Hampshire, Sen. Sanders had said that support for abortion “is an absolutely essential part of being a Democrat.”
Previously, Buttigieg had said at a Jan. 26 townhall in Iowa that women, not government officials, should be making the decisions on abortion; if this stance disqualified him with pro-life Democrats, he said, “I understand.”
At a November debate, Sen. Warren said that “abortion rights are human rights” and the Democratic party is “fundamentally” pro-abortion, but added that “I’m not here to try to drive anyone out of this party. I’m not here to try to build fences.”