Manchester, New Hampshire (dpa) – Former secretary of state Hillary Rodham Clinton turned her attention Tuesday to the north-eastern US state of New Hampshire after eking out a victory by the slimmest of margins in the first US presidential nominating contest in Iowa.
Final results in Monday evening’s Iowa caucuses showed Clinton with 49.8 per cent to rival Bernie Sanders’ 49.6 per cent, a statistical tie that both sides sought to portray as a victory.
“It was wonderful to win the caucus and to have that experience of all the hard work, the grassroots organizing pay off the way it did,” Clinton told CNN. “Now we’re here in New Hampshire and we are going to have a contest of ideas.”
Opinion surveys however showed Sanders with a large lead in New Hampshire, which borders his native Vermont, a week before the vote.
Clinton is predicted to do better in subsequent states in the long calendar of state-by-state nominating contests, particularly in the south, where voters are not as liberal and large populations of minorities, including African Americans and Hispanics, favour Clinton.
To help solidify the African American vote in South Carolina, the third state to vote later this month, Clinton’s campaign released a television ad featuring former attorney general Eric Holder, an African American who was the frequent target of Republicans.
He praised Clinton for her civil rights record, declaring, “If you want to make sure Republicans don’t move us backward, help Hillary move us forward.”
The White House, which has declined to publicly choose sides in the Democratic contest, painted Monday’s close result in Iowa as ultimately being good for President Barack Obama’s party.
Spokesman Josh Earnest noted the long nominating contest in 2008 between Obama and Clinton had ultimately made Obama a stronger candidate.
Among Iowa Republicans, conservative Senator Ted Cruz topped the field with 28 per cent, with billionaire businessman Donald Trump finishing second with 24 per cent and Senator Marco Rubio a close third with 23 per cent. All three men were scheduled to make appearances in New Hampshire and were citing endorsements by lawmakers from the state and from South Carolina.
Trump and Cruz are both seeking to tap into widespread voter dissatisfaction with the Washington establishment, but polls conducted ahead of the Iowa vote show Trump with a lead of more than 20 percentage points over Cruz and a host of establishment candidates.
Rubio’s campaign was Tuesday attempting to portray him as the candidate most likely to unite the party and take on the Democrats.
“On the Republican side that we cannot afford, this country cannot afford, to lose this election,” Rubio said in an interview on ABC. “I give the party the best chance not just to unify the conservative movement but to grow it, to take our message to people that don’t vote Republican now, grow our party, grow our movement and defeat Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders.”