Special Report

How Much the New Hampshire Primary Mattered in Every Election

1988 New Hampshire Democratic primary

Source: Keystone / Getty Images

Michael Dukakis
> Share of votes: 37.0% (41,185)

Geography helped Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis win the New Hampshire primary in 1988 as he overcame a third-place finish in the Iowa caucuses. Dukakis faced a competitive field during primary season as four other Democratic candidates — Reverend Jesse Jackson, Tennessee Sen. Al Gore, Illinois Sen. Paul Simon, and Missouri Rep. Richard Gephardt — all won primaries or caucuses. Dukakis won 13 of the last 14 primaries to secure the nomination but would lose to Vice President George H.W. Bush in the election.

Source: Photo by © Shepard Sherbell / CORBIS SABA / Corbis via Getty Images

Dick Gephardt
> Share of votes: 20.0% (22,464)

Missouri Rep. Richard Gephardt, who railed against unfair trade and relied on strong union support, finished second to Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis in the New Hampshire primary. Gephard had won the Iowa caucuses, then won the South Dakota primary and his home state of Missouri. But a disappointing third-place finish in the Michigan caucuses doomed his campaign, and he dropped out in March.

1992 New Hampshire Democratic primary

Source: Paul Natkin / Getty Images

Paul E. Tsongas
> Share of votes: 33.2% (55,663)

Massachusetts Sen. Paul Tsongas won the New Hampshire primary after getting the second-most votes for a candidate in the Iowa caucuses behind Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin. Tsongas would eventually win eight primaries, but his momentum waned and he suspended his campaign in March.

Source: Mark Lyons / Getty Images

Bill Clinton
> Share of votes: 24.7% (41,540)

The youthful Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton received less than 3% of the caucuses vote in Iowa and finished in second place behind Sen. Paul Tsongas of Massachusetts in the New Hampshire primary. He would not win his first primary until Super Tuesday, March 3, when he would win Georgia. Starting April 5, Clinton steamrolled the opposition and won all but one primary on his way to the nomination and eventually the presidency.

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