Special Report

How Much the New Hampshire Primary Mattered in Every Election

2004 New Hampshire Democratic primary

Source: Chris Hondros / Getty Images

John F. Kerry
> Share of votes: 38.4% (84,377)

John Kerry followed the well-worn path to the Democratic primary trail by Massachusetts politicians John Kennedy, Michael Dukakis, Paul Tsongas, and Edward Kennedy. Kerry won the first seven primaries or caucuses in convincing fashion and topped a six-person field in New Hampshire. Kerry, campaigning on his Vietnam War experience, proved unstoppable on his way to the Democratic nomination. President George W. Bush defeated him in the 2004 election.

Source: Jamie McCarthy / Getty Images

Howard Dean
> Share of votes: 26.3% (57,761)

Physician and former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean ran an anti-Iraq war theme and galvanized many on the left. However, his campaign foundered after a disappointing third-place finish in Iowa, remembered for his awkward “Dean scream” speech meant to energize supporters. Dean finished second in New Hampshire and dropped out in February.

2008 New Hampshire Democratic primary

Hillary Clinton
> Share of votes: 39.1% (112,404)

New York Sen. Hillary Clinton, bidding to become the first woman nominated by a major political party, won the New Hampshire primary over Barack Obama, a first-term senator from Illinois. Clinton would wage a bruising primary battle with Obama throughout 2008 and eventually lose the nomination to Obama, who would go on and make history as the first African American president of the United States. Obama would appoint Clinton as secretary of state.

Source: Scott Olson / Getty Images

Barack Obama
> Share of votes: 36.5% (104,815)

Barack Obama, a first-term senator from Illinois, campaigned on “hope and change” and almost upset New York Sen. Hillary Clinton in the New Hampshire primary. His campaign gained traction, and in a grueling primary battle he emerged victorious and would go on to defeat John McCain in 2008 for the presidency and become the first African American president of the United States.

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