Klobuchar takes third in New Hampshire primary, Sanders wins

Senator Amy Klobuchar addresses the crowd on the night of the New Hampshire Democratic Primary. (FOX 9)

U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar rode a strong debate performance and a last-minute surge in support to a third-place finish in New Hampshire’s Democratic primary, breathing life into her campaign.

With 80 percent of the vote counted, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders narrowly won the race in a state that neighbors his own, with 26 percent. South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg finished second at 24 percent. Klobuchar got 20 percent of the vote.

“Hello America! I’m Amy Klobuchar, and I will beat Donald Trump,” she told a cheering crowd in Concord, with a national audience watching on TV.

She beat out U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren and former Vice President Joe Biden, who both staggered to results that put the futures of their campaigns in peril. Warren finished in fourth place with 9 percent of the vote, despite living in neighboring Massachusetts. Biden stumbled to a fifth place finish, at 8 percent.

"We are in the one year anniversary of launching the campaign in Minnesota and we brought it on the road and it’s just exciting tonight that we had such a good showing that no one predicted in New Hampshire," Klobuchar said to reporters following her podium speech.

In the Iowa caucuses, Klobuchar finished in fifth place. Political pundits said she needed to do better in New Hampshire to move her campaign forward.

Klobuchar’s next challenge: building up her campaign for the onslaught of states to come. The Nevada caucuses are next on Feb. 29, with the South Carolina primary a week later. Then, 14 states will vote on March 3, known as Super Tuesday.

Klobuchar’s campaign staff is small compared to her rivals, a product of lackluster poll results and fundraising earlier in the race. She has already moved some Iowa staffers to Nevada, and plans to add more.

Her campaign will go up with a seven-figure ad buy in the Las Vegas and Reno, Nevada television markets on Wednesday.

“We are taking this campaign to Nevada. We are going to South Carolina. And we are taking this message of unity to the country,” she said Tuesday night.

In an emailed response to her finish in the New Hampshire primary, the Minnesota GOP slammed Klobuchar for being “largely absent” from her home state. Klobuchar has done few campaign events in Minnesota during the race.

This article was reported from Eden Prairie, Minnesota.