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Wake Up To Politics - February 11, 2020

I'm Gabe Fleisher, reporting live from WUTP world headquarters in my bedroom. It’s Tuesday, February 11, 2020. Today is the New Hampshire primary. 266 days until Election Day. Have questions, comments, or tips? Email me.

New Hampshire primary guide

With the final results from last week's Iowa caucuses still unclear, the 2020 Democratic race has now arrived in New Hampshire — and Granite State voters are prepared to assume the presidential winnowing role mostly abdicated by Iowans this year.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders has consistently dominated public polling in New Hampshire for weeks, leading the field at 28.3% in an average of recent polls by RealClearPolitics. But he is trailed by two moderate rivals who have gained momentum since Iowa: former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who averages at 21.3%, and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who averages at 11.7%.

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and former Vice President Joe Biden are tied at 11%.

Tonight's results are critical for each of the major candidates. Sanders — a neighboring-state senator who won the New Hampshire primary handily in 2016 — is seeking a decisive victory to solidify progressive support behind him going forward.

Buttigieg is hoping to at least finish close behind Sanders, adding more fuel to his campaign before the race moves to his more vulnerable territory in Nevada and South Carolina.

After a fifth-place finish in Iowa, but experiencing a slight polling bump in response to a well-reviewed debate performance, Klobuchar needs to land in the upper tier after the primary tonight to remain competitive. Warren, who was once a frontrunner in New Hampshire, is also counting on better-than-expected results to justify continuing her campaign.

And then there is Biden, who is setting low expectations in New Hampshire, keeping open the possibility of another fourth-place finish (or even something worse). The ex-VP has been slipping in the polls since Iowa: a Quinnipiac poll released Monday found Sanders had seized his national lead. Another "gut punch" in New Hampshire could further hamper Biden and drain the resources he would need in order to rebound in South Carolina and the Super Tuesday states.

A number of lower-polling candidates — including Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet, Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, entrepreneur Andrew Yang — have also been showering focus on New Hampshire, hoping that favorable results will bring national attention.

For the first time since 2004, no candidates left the primary race after the Iowa caucuses, but with 10 major candidates jockeying for support today, New Hampshire voters are likely to have the chance to prune the presidential field tonight.

One name missing from the state's ballot: former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has skipped the early states and instead turned his massive war chest towards Super Tuesday, in hopes of emerging as the centrist alternative to Sanders if Biden continues to falter.

Polls close between 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. Eastern Time across the state.

--- Early results: Three tiny New Hampshire towns (Dixville Notch, Hart's Location, and Millsfield) traditionally vote at midnight, so 1% of the primary results are already in. Klobuchar is currently leading with eight votes, trailed by Sanders and Warren with four each.

The Rundown

The Russia investigation: "Federal prosecutors on Monday said longtime President Trump confidant Roger Stone deserves a sentence of seven to nine years in prison for lying to Congress and tampering with a witness related to his efforts to learn about hacked Democratic emails during the 2016 U.S. presidential election." (Washington Post)

Trump's New Hampshire counterprogramming: "President Trump held a rally Monday night in New Hampshire on the eve of the state's primaries, the first since he was acquitted on two articles of impeachment. The president tried to rattle Democrats' nominating process by urging New Hampshire independents to vote Tuesday for the 'weakest Democrat.' Independents are allowed to vote in either party's primary." (CBS News)

Recommended read: "Pick Me, Mr. President!" — inside the Republican Senate primary in Alabama as a crowded field battles for President Trump's coveted endorsement (New York Times Magazine)


President Donald Trump will participate in a signing ceremony for S. 153, the Supporting Veterans in STEM Careers Act.

The Senate will vote to confirm a circuit judge nominee and vote to advance four district judge nominees.

The House will vote on H.R. 1980, the Smithsonian Women's History Museum Act.

Presidential candidates Michael Bennet, Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, Tulsi Gabbard, Amy Klobuchar, Deval Patrick, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Bill Weld, and Andrew Yang will hold final campaign events and election night watch parties in New Hampshire.

Presidential candidate Tom Steyer will campaign in Nevada.

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