Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: World: Americas
Front Page 
Far East 
Middle East 
South Asia 
From Our Own Correspondent 
Letter From America 
UK Politics 
Talking Point 
In Depth 

Philippa Thomas in New Hampshire
"This was John McCain's great chance to make his mark"
 real 28k

Paul Reynolds reports from Manchester, New Hampshire
"As one supporter put it, the coronation of George Bush is off"
 real 28k

Wednesday, 2 February, 2000, 13:02 GMT
Underdog bites Bush

John McCain: Change is coming

Republican presidential underdog John McCain has crushed front-runner George W Bush in the New Hampshire primary.

We have sent a powerful message to Washington: Change is coming
John McCain
With more than 96% of votes counted, Senator McCain was ahead by 49 points to 31. His rival conceded defeat before the result was officially announced.

Leading Democrat contender Al Gore scored a much narrower six-point victory over his rival, former Senator Bill Bradley.

But the one-time basketball star Mr Bradley sounded a defiant note, vowing to continue his campaign.

Republican results: 98% of votes in
McCain 49%
George W Bush 31%
Steve Forbes 13%
Alan Keyes 6%
Gary Bauer 1%
Mr McCain, a Vietnam veteran and former prisoner-of-war, told his supporters that New Hampshire marked the beginning of a national crusade for his campaign platform of kicking out the big money lobbyists from Washington.

"We have sent a powerful message to Washington: Change is coming," he said before heading for South Carolina and the primary on 19 February.

Road to victory

Texas governor Mr Bush, who described his defeat as a "bump in a road" that would still lead him to the White House, said: "I think I'm in pretty good shape in South Carolina, and that's the next contest where John has staked his claim."

Democrat results: 98% of votes in
Gore 53%
Bradley 47%
Our correspondent Rob Watson says only future primaries will show how important this victory proves to be on the road to the White House. At the very least though, it ensures the Republican nomination is still a race, not a coronation.

And the Democrat result gives both men some comfort. It confirms Al Gore as the front-runner, but allows Mr Bradley to say he has enough support to fight on.

"Thank you, New Hampshire," a relieved Mr Gore declared after early exit polls showed the result too close to call.

New Hampshire voting facts
From 1952 to 1992, no-one won the presidency without first winning their party's New Hampshire primary
The run was broken only by Bill Clinton who came second in 1992
New Hampshire is tiny with only 0.4% of the nation's population
Voting record: 1996: Clinton 49%, Dole 39% 1992: Clinton 39%, Bush 38%, Perot 23% 1988: Bush 62%, Dukakis 36%

Winners and losers

Political parties in America use primary elections to choose the candidate who will represent them in the race for the White House.

Although New Hampshire sends only a few delegates to each party convention, most recent presidents have won the state's primary on their way to the White House.

Mr Gore and Mr Bush won last week's party caucuses in the state of Iowa, the first contest of the campaign.

Since 1952, only one candidate has lost in New Hampshire but gone on to win the presidency - the self-proclaimed "comeback kid" Bill Clinton, who lost to Paul Tsongas in 1992.

Sixteen years earlier, in 1976, the virtually unknown Democrat Jimmy Carter surged from nowhere to top of the heap in New Hampshire and went on to win the White House.

Likewise victory in the 1988 primaries for George Bush and Michael Dukakis was seen as key to their winning their respective parties' nomination.

Al Gore and wife Tipper A "hard-fought" campaign, said Mr Gore
On the other hand, failure to perform in New Hampshire has also proved the undoing of many a high-flying campaign.

Bush's loss in the 1980 vote sent his campaign on a downward spiral and even the pull of the family name failed to keep Senator Edward Kennedy's campaign from falling apart after New Hampshire's voters gave him their thumbs down.

"Nowhere else do so many pollsters compete for the attention of so few voters," said R Kelly Myers, director of research for RKM.
Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console

Latest US election campaign news, analysis and all the background from BBC News Online

Americas Contents

Country profiles

See also:
02 Feb 00 |  Americas
Both parties in a real fight
02 Feb 00 |  Americas
McCain savours the moment
04 Jan 00 |  Profiles
John McCain: Ready-made war hero
02 Feb 00 |  Americas
Carnival feel to first primary
07 Jan 00 |  States
New Hampshire
31 Jan 00 |  Americas
New Hampshire: Kingmaker state
Links to other Americas stories are at the foot of the page.

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Americas stories