Michael Bennet Bet Big On New Hampshire. Early Primary Results Put Him Far Behind

Mary Altaffer/AP Photo
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., speaks during the McIntyre-Shaheen 100 Club Dinner, Saturday, Feb. 8, 2020, in Manchester, N.H.

JUST IN: Sen. Michael Bennet has dropped out of the race. Read the full story here.

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The first results from the New Hampshire primary are coming in, and the news for Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet appears as icy as the weather in Manchester.

While it's still early, Bennet trails thousands of votes and many percentage points from a spot in the top 4 that he hoped for. Just after 6:30 p.m. MST with 16 percent of precincts reporting, he is far behind with just 111 votes, according to live results from the New York Times.

Bennet was betting big on a strong performance in the Granite State, banking on New Hampshire’s history of lifting underdog candidates to give him a strong finish. But the slope may be too steep.

As expected, Democratic Sen. Bernie Sanders looks to be coming out on top, with former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar trailing behind. Elizabeth Warren and former Vice President Joe Biden round out the top 5.

Businessman Andrew Yang dropped out shortly after the first batch of results was released.

Bennet soldiered on even as better funded and more well-known candidates fell to the wayside in a crowded Democratic field. His campaign was a lean machine with fewer offices and staff compared to the leaders of the pack. But Bennet understood voter indecision surrounding this contest and built his campaign to last until the day voters would make up their minds.

But Bennet never seemed able to build momentum.

“I wish that I'd gotten into the race earlier. I think that would have helped,” Bennet said.

He also pointed out some factors that were out of his control.

“I think the DNC debate rules were deeply counterproductive, not just to my campaign, but to the process generally,” he said. “And I would hope in the future, they'll recognize that and not do it again.”

Some undecided voters said they were not considering any candidate who did not make the debate stage. Two women coming out of a Manchester polling center said they voted for Klobuchar after her strong debate performance the Friday before the primary.

This is a developing story and will be updated.