Around 90 students packed the Collis Center’s TV lounge on Tuesday night to watch the results of the New Hampshire primary unfold. TVs around the room featured live coverage from CNN, MSNBC and the local WMUR9, while ABC’s Devin Dwyer ’05 broadcasted from the event throughout the evening.
The event, titled “Rocky’s Most-Watched Watch Party,” was hosted by the Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and Collis Governing Board and included remarks from vice president for communications Justin Anderson. After students gathered to watch analysis of the polls closing at 7 p.m., Anderson began his remarks in a presentation titled, “Hope and Change: the Evolution of Political News Coverage since 2000.” Speaking about his personal experience as a reporter on the campaign trail in 2000, an ABC News producer and a media relations specialist at the College, Anderson discussed the recent evolution of media coverage of elections and campaigns, specifically entailing the movement away from multi-candidate, policy-oriented events at the College such as national debates.
Once the introductory remarks concluded around 8 p.m., a cheerful murmur broke out in the crowd, as attendees discussed who they voted for earlier in the day. Gradually, attention turned to the incoming results, which first showed Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) leading former South Bend, IN mayor Pete Buttigieg 27.7 percent to 22.8 percent with nine percent of precincts reporting. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) trailed behind with 20.3 percent, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) rounded out the top four with 12.3 percent.
With so few precincts reporting, however, Kellen Love ’21 expressed hope that third place might still be within reach for Warren — his preferred candidate. He said he chose to vote for her because, while there are a number of candidates he could see himself supporting, he thought Warren deserved more support.
“I think voting in New Hampshire gives you the opportunity to kind of push a candidate one way or the other, potentially, and I just saw her kind of lagging in a way that I’m not so sure she should be,” Love said. “Realistically, I think third place is very viable.”
Love said that he was excited to see how the night played out and noted that, regardless of who wins New Hampshire and who ends up the eventual Democratic Party nominee for president, he will cast a blue ballot come November.
Shortly after the influx of initial results, news broke that entreprenuer Andrew Yang would be suspending his campaign, a development that had little visible impact on the crowd. Arnold Fuentes ’23, a Sanders supporter, said that he was slightly disappointed to hear of Yang’s withdrawal.
“I thought that he would at least wait until Nevada or South Carolina,” Fuentes said. “I’m kind of sad that he’s dropping out because it means that [the race] is becoming less diverse, but at the same time I want the number of candidates to get smaller so that we don’t have a split contest in June.”
Fuentes noted that while he did not vote in the New Hampshire primary, he looks forward to casting his absentee vote for Sanders in Florida’s primary on March 17. He said he felt that his vote would “be more important” in Florida come the November general election, adding that he felt sure that Sanders would still be involved in the race by the time primary day came around in his home state.
By 9:15 p.m., Fuentes was feeling better than ever, as Sanders held onto his 4.3-percent lead over Buttigieg.
“I was pretty confident that [Sanders] would outperform [the other candidates] tonight,” he said. “I knew that [Buttigieg] would give him a real fight, but I feel like he’s going to come out of it really strong.”
As the results continued to solidify, some attention was turned to Klobuchar, who exceeded expectations and held onto third place throughout the night. Sarah Solomon ’21, who said she voted for Buttigieg but supports Klobuchar, noted that she may have voted for the senator had she known how well she would perform.
“I actually voted for Buttigieg because I thought he would be the best candidate to beat Sanders,” Solomon said. “I am a [Klobuchar] supporter in that if I were voting sincerely I would have voted for her, but strategically I voted for Buttigieg.”
Solomon added that she was excited to see Klobuchar performing well and thinks she would make a great nominee, especially considering the ever-important “electability” factor. She noted that she believes Klobuchar would perform better than both Sanders and Buttigieg in a general election due to Sanders being “too far left” and Buttigieg lacking experience. Additionally, she noted that she believes the country may unfortunately be more “ready” to elect a woman than a gay man.
By 9:30, with over 50 percent of precincts reporting, the crowd in the Collis TV room had thinned. With Sanders leading, and over 60 percent of precincts reporting, Sade Akinfe ’20said that she was really excited about his performance and expressed hope that he would be able to ride this momentum all the way into the White House, where she believes he will do his best to enact his campaign promises.
“I believe in Medicare for All, the Green New Deal, making public colleges free and cancelling student loan debt, and I just really think he’s going to stick to his word once he gets into office,” Akinfe said. “I’m hoping to celebrate after this and end the day on a great note.”
As the room began to empty out, and the results coalesced, few students were able to witness the final results of the evening from the watch party — instead learning the news on their own.
Eileen (Eily) Brady is a '21 from Chicago who studies government and romance languages. Eily loves travel, politics, iced tea and her dogs, Mac and Charlie. She is thrilled to be reporting the news for The Dartmouth.