Feb. 10, 2016 — New Hampshire voters went to the polls yesterday for the long-anticipated New Hampshire presidential primary. A plethora of pre-primary political surveys suggested that Donald Trump and Sen. Bernie Sanders would win the respective Republican and Democratic primaries there. And they were right.
Though the media gives undue attention to this first-in-the-nation primary in relation to its size, long-term momentum is often built in the Granite State. For Republicans, New Hampshire possesses only 23 delegates (from a universe of 2,472), 20 of which are apportioned by today’s vote. On the Democratic side, this primary awards 32 delegates from an overall universe of 4,763.
With Trump placing first as the last 10 public polls all suggested –- in margins from nine to 21 points – he leads the pack of GOP candidates with a cumulative 18 total delegates even when combining his New Hampshire and Iowa totals. This still is less than two percent of the number that he, or any other contender, needs to clinch the nomination.
A top-three finish from Iowa’s second-tier candidates could put the Republican campaign on the road to a contested convention. With Ohio Gov. John Kasich and ex-Florida Gov. Jeb Bush sneaking in, they could begin to make this a four or five-person race. Such a configuration would make obtaining majority support through the entire primary and caucus process very difficult if not impossible to achieve. The result would mean multi-ballot voting at the convention for the first time since before World War II.
The Democrats have a much different nominating system. As we have stated previously, an impending loss for ex-Secretary of State and First Lady Hillary Clinton to Sen. Sanders tonight should be viewed as only a bump in the road.
With the small numbers of delegates coming from Iowa and New Hampshire –- and Clinton could quite possibly still lead in delegates tonight largely because of at-large “Super Delegate” support –- it will not be difficult for her to reverse course once voting begins in the southern and western states. The schedule takes the Democrats to Nevada on Feb. 23, followed by South Carolina on Feb. 27. The March 1 Super Tuesday voting, featuring seven southern states that are the heart of Clinton’s support, will give her a substantial delegate lead and allow her to effectively clinch the nomination in early or mid-March.
Now that we know the new Virginia congressional map will be in place for the 2016 elections, Rep. Randy Forbes (R-Chesapeake) wasted little time in announcing that he will seek re-election in the open 2nd District next year, leaving his old 4th CD open for a new Democratic congressman. The court-mandated redistricting plan added parts of the Richmond and Petersburg area to Forbes’ District 4, making this now a heavily Democratic seat.
Though Rep. Forbes has never represented any major portion of the Virginia Beach area, the dominant portion of the new open 2nd District, it is a much more Republican seat and the eventual GOP nominee will be considered the favorite to hold in November. The carpet bagging attack will lessened in the fact that retiring Rep. Scott Rigell (R-Virginia Beach) had publicly suggested Forbes come to the 2nd District to seek re-election. He will have a Republican primary fight, at least from one-term Delegate Scott Taylor who has been running since Rep. Rigell surprisingly announced he would not seek a fourth term in January.
Though Forbes has not represented the area east and north of Norfolk, which now geographically describes District 2, the voters are somewhat familiar with him because of the overlapping Norfolk media market.
The Virginia primary is June 14, unless the 2nd District Republican leaders decide to meet in a nominating convention.