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Candidates Trade Fire as New Hampshire Votes in Pivotal Primary

February 9, 2016, 6:44 PM UTC
Photograph by Congressional Quarterly CQ-Roll Call,Inc.

The presidential candidates raced to make the most of their final campaign stops at diners and polling stations throughout a snowy New Hampshire on Tuesday, as residents took to the polls to cast their vote in the long-awaited first-in-the-nation primary.

As the remaining Republican candidates jockeyed to boost their campaigns and prove their staying power beyond New Hampshire, Ohio Gov. John Kasich became the target of an attack ad released Monday by Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, as both candidates touted their confidence going into the primary.

“It’s a shame when you see people take the low road to the highest office in the land, but I’ve decided not to do it,” Kasich said on CNN, adding that he has no intention of stopping his campaign in the Granite State.

“Calm down, Bush people. It’s not that serious,” said Kasich, who served breakfast and coffee at a Manchester diner Tuesday morning.

Kasich, Bush, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio are in a pitched fight for second place—most polls show Donald Trump leading the pack—which would give them momentum and bragging rights headed into the South Carolina primary. Cruz, who won the Iowa caucuses with the support of conservative evangelical Christians, is not expected to fare as well among New Hampshire’s more secular voters.

Meanwhile, a pro-Christie group sent mailers to New Hampshire residentscriticizing Rubio for not being tough enough on illegal immigration and for taking an Affordable Care Act subsidy. Cruz’s campaign also hit Rubio, aiming to raise expectations for the Florida Senator, who did better than expected in last week’s Iowa caucuses.

On the Democratic side, Clinton’s campaign has been waging a more critical campaign against a surging Sanders—the Vermont Senator is widely expected to win in his neighboring state—while fighting speculation that a campaign staff shakeup would follow the New Hampshire results.

Clinton made multiple stops at polling stations Tuesday morning, taking selfies with supporters, pausing for a photo with Frank Fiorina—husband of Republican candidate Carly Fiorina—and even shaking the hand of at least one woman who had arrived to support Trump.

Voting was already underway as residents woke up, thanks to a few small towns that vote shortly after midnight. Ohio Gov. John Kasich won the most Republican votes in the small New Hampshire communities of Dixville Notch and Hart’s Location. In both places, Donald Trump came in a close second. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz received the most votes in Millsfield, winning nine Republican votes while Trump earned three.

In Dixville Notch, which has correctly predicted the eventual Republican nominee in every election since 1968, Kasich won three Republican votes, compared to Donald Trump’s two. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders won all of the Democratic votes in the community. Sanders, who held a big lead in the state entering the primary, earned 12 votes in Hart’s Location while rival Hillary Clinton won seven.

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