Special Report

How Much the New Hampshire Primary Mattered in Every Election

1980 New Hampshire Democratic primary

Source: pingnews / Flickr

Jimmy Carter
> Share of votes: 47.1% (52,692)

President Jimmy Carter won the New Hampshire primary on his way to winning the Democratic nomination. Sen. Edward Kennedy from neighboring Massachusetts challenged Carter for the nomination, but Carter won in the New Hampshire primary. Carter was unseated by Republican nominee Ronald Reagan in a landslide in the 1980 election.

Source: Keystone / Getty Images

Ted Kennedy
> Share of votes: 37.3% (41,745)

Massachusetts Sen. Edward Kennedy, carrying the Democratic Party liberal mantle, challenged President Jimmy Carter for the nomination. Kennedy finished second to the incumbent. It would be the beginning of a prolonged challenge by the long-serving senator — who won 12 primaries — that would ultimately fail.

1984 New Hampshire Democratic primary

Source: Photograph by Nancy Wong / Wikimedia Commons

Gary Hart
> Share of votes: 37.3% (29,843 with 88% of precincts reporting)

Colorado Sen. Gary Hart leveraged his telegenic image and the promise of a new generation of leadership to win the New Hampshire primary, enroute to 26 contest victories in 1984. Hart defeated a field in New Hampshire that included former Vice President Walter Mondale, Sen. John Glenn, and Reverend Jesse Jackson. Still, Hart could not secure the Democratic nomination.

Source: Evening Standard / Getty Images

Walter Mondale
> Share of votes: 27.9% (20,240 with 88% of precincts reporting)

After winning the Iowa caucuses, Walter Mondale, the former vice president under Jimmy Carter, suffered three consecutive primary losses to Colorado Sen. Gary Hart. He rallied to win seven of the next 10 primaries on his way to the nomination. Mondale would get routed in the 1984 election by President Ronald Reagan.

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