Outsiders Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders were handsomely rewarded by the voters of New Hampshire on Tuesday night - with predictions handing them huge wins over their establishment rivals.
After a day of drama that saw voters in the north of state cast their ballots just moments after midnight, polls closed - with ten per cent of precints have reported results - with Mr Trump looking at having secured 34 per cent of the vote among the Republicans, John Kasich running second on 16 points and Jeb Bush on 12 points. Among the Democrats, Mr Sanders was projected as having secured 58 points compared to 40 for Hillary Clinton.
The results immediately did several things, most importantly underscoring the claims of Mr Trump and Mr Sanders to be national candidates. The two will head to the upcoming primary votes in South Carolina with huge momentum.
The Democratic contest has now been truly competitive. Ms Clinton, who just a few months ago was a full 31 points ahead of Mr Sanders, must now hope she can secure the backing of Black voters in South Carolina and Latinos in Nevada.
There have been reports - officially denied - that her campaign will undergo something of a shake-up - after she failed to keep Mr Sanders margin of victory to single figures.
From the perspective of the Republicans the situation has become more muddled.
While Mr Trump will remain the frontrunner, the relative success of Mr Kasich and Mr Bush, and the poor showing by Mr Cruz and Mr Rubio, mean the race will remain open and not the three-way battle many had anticipated.
Mr Rubio in particular will be ruing his poor performance in Republican Saturday’s debate when he was seen to have “choked” under tough questioning. After coming a strong third in Iowa, he entered the contest in New Hampshire as the man with the wind in his sails.Reuse content