Former Vice President Joe Biden had a disastrous showing in the New Hampshire primary on Tuesday, where he is on pace to finish in fifth place and in the high single digits.
Biden failed to reach the 15% threshold to win delegates in the state.
Notably, no presidential nominee has ever placed below second in the New Hampshire primary, so Biden has a steep hill to climb to regain his foothold in the race.
This is the second major blow for Biden in the last week after his poor showing in the Iowa caucuses.
The centrist former vice president stunned many by coming in fourth place in Iowa, trailing behind former Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Bernie Sanders, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren. He underperformed his campaign’s expectations and recent polling — a rocky start to the primary season for a candidate widely viewed as the field’s frontrunner.
In the days leading up to the New Hampshire primary, Biden conceded he’d likely do poorly in the state — perhaps managing the expectations of his supporters.
“This is a long race and I took a hit in Iowa and I’ll probably take a hit here,” Biden said at the Democratic debate last Friday, adding that Sen. Bernie Sanders swept the 2016 New Hampshire primary against Hillary Clinton. “Bernie won by 20 points last time and usually it’s the neighboring senators that do well.”
After the debate, Biden went on the attack against Buttigieg and Sanders. He released an ad mocking the Midwesterner’s work as mayor of South Bend and repeatedly warned that the Vermont senator would scare off voters with his democratic socialist label.
“The reports of our death are premature,” Biden told his campaign staffers on Saturday.
The former vice president’s supporters argue he was always at a disadvantage in the very white states of Iowa and New Hampshire because his strength is with voters of color. And the campaign is banking on a big win in South Carolina, where black voters are expected to play a key role.
In another sign of his campaign’s relatively desperate situation, Biden left New Hampshire on Tuesday to campaign in South Carolina. He told reporters he was “still mildly hopeful” for success in the New England state.