USA 2020: Surprise Democrat’s early lead
Democratic presidential hopeful Amy Klobuchar was the early winner when the New Hampshire primary election kicked off on Tuesday morning (local time), winning two of the three midnight tallies.
The ballots were cast in Dixville Notch, a small town in the northern tip of the state, which traditionally begins the primary voting in New Hampshire.
Slightly more than two dozen residents of Dixville Notch and two surrounding towns typically head to the poll shortly after midnight, reports the New York Post.
It comes as a floundering Joe Biden abruptly cancelled a planned appearance at a party in New Hampshire, electing instead to fly to South Carolina where he will continue campaigning.
Ms Klobuchar acknowledged the early victory in a tweet, saying "we're off to a great start in New Hampshire today!"
She later visited two polling places, savouring what she called her "landslide" win in the two tiny northern communities that voted just after midnight.
Campaigning in Manchester, Ms Klobuchar said she was "feeling good" and had "just met a lot of people" who voted for her.
With a smile, Ms Klobuchar said she felt good about "those early results in those gigantic voting locations up there".
Ms Klobuchar won the Democratic primary in Hart's Location with six votes and in Millsfield with two. But former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg won Dixville Notch with two write-in votes.
Ms Klobuchar said Mr Bloomberg "needs to be on the debate stage" and then she can be on equal footing with him. She said she's "never going to beat" the billionaire on the airwaves but "can beat him on the debate stage."
Meanwhile, Iowa winner Pete Buttigieg declared he was also feeling "very good" about his prospects in the New Hampshire primary.
The former South Bend, Indiana, mayor is riding a wave as a centrist frontrunner following last week's Iowa caucuses. He essentially tied with Bernie Sanders, the self-described democratic socialist.
Mr Buttigieg conceded that he's up against "some neighbourhood competition" in Mr Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. But he said he had good momentum and he's "going to have a great show." Asked during a US TV interview about his struggle for support among the African-American community, Mr Buttigieg said: "No one is feeling the pain of living in this administration" more than voters of colour.
he also said he believed many voters of colour "are taking a second look at candidates" now that the field has been whittled down from more than 20.
On a personal note, Mr Buttigieg said that he still has to pinch himself about his unexpected performance as one of the presidential hopefuls.
After the chaotic Iowa caucuses last week in which an error-prone mobile phone app delayed the reporting of accurate results for days, Democrats are hoping voters in New Hampshire will begin to narrow the field.
A Quinnipiac national poll that came out on Monday had Mr Sanders leading the pack in New Hampshire with 25 per cent of support and former Vice President Biden coming in second with 17 per cent.
It also showed Mr Bloomberg, the former three-term mayor of New York, surging in the state.
He got 15 per cent support - up from eight per cent in a poll taken on January 28.