A reporter covering Tuesday night’s New Hampshire primary captured a moment that some might see as reflective of the downturn in the campaign fortunes of former Vice President Joe Biden.
Forecasts accurately predicted his resounding defeat in the state’s first-in-the-nation primary, with some commentators casting his recent electoral woes as an “implosion.”
An iconic moment… https://t.co/1KC3A6eekr
— Ben Smith (@BuzzFeedBen) February 12, 2020
A photo posted to Twitter around 7:30PM on Tuesday by Buzzfeed News reporter Nidhi Prakash certainly didn’t help to alleviate the perception of a slumping campaign.
“The first and only guests so far to walk in and have a drink at Biden’s NH primary night party: members of the American Political Items Collectors. Two of them are Biden supporters (one is feeling iffy about him now),” Prakash tweeted.
One social media user had a one word response to the image: “Sad!”
Buzzfeed News editor in chief Ben Smith characterized the scene as “An iconic moment.”
Biden, the longtime frontrunner in the Democratic field, canceled his scheduled appearance at a primary night party in Nashua, New Hampshire, and flew to South Carolina. The campaign said it would be throwing a “launch party” in the Southern state.
“We’re going to head to South Carolina tonight,” Biden told reporters as he visited a polling station with voting underway. “And I’m going to Nevada … we’ve got to look at them all.”
Prakash clarified that the doors to the Biden event didn’t officially open until 7:30 or 8:00, “but there wasn’t a line outside last time I checked.”
A few minutes after 8:00PM, “roughly 100” people were in attendance, according to Prakash.
However, Prakash said that number dwindled to “a couple dozen” less than two hours later.
Biden loses big
Bernie Sanders, a U.S. senator from neighboring Vermont, and Pete Buttigieg, a former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, finished first and second in Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary respectively, the contest also showed the growing appeal of Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, who placed third after surging over the past few days.
Biden limped out of New Hampshire, finishing fifth amid fresh questions about the viability of his candidacy.
Biden’s campaign has argued that he was disadvantaged by the majority white electorate in the first two early states: New Hampshire and, before that, Iowa, where he turned in a disappointing fourth-place finish in last week’s caucuses.
“I took a hit in Iowa and I’m probably going to take a hit here,” Biden said at the start of Friday night’s Democratic presidential nomination debate.
Buttigieg narrowly beat out Sanders to win Iowa, but both campaigns have asked for a partial recanvass of results.
(Reuters contributed to this report.)