Viewer’s Guide: What to watch on the day after New Hampshire

BY    | Updated: Feb 10, 2016 at 4:00 AM
Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders leaves the stage after speaking at his New Hampshire presidential primary night rally in Concord, New Hampshire on Feb. 9. Photo by Shannon Stapleton/Reuters

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders leaves the stage after speaking at his New Hampshire presidential primary night rally in Concord, New Hampshire on Feb. 9. Photo by Shannon Stapleton/Reuters

WASHINGTON — New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation primary left some GOP candidates with a hard-knocks hangover and others just happy to still be alive.

Here’s what to watch for Wednesday, as the race heads south and west — perhaps with a smaller cast of characters.

WHERE TO? Most Republican candidates are making a beeline for South Carolina, which holds its GOP primary Feb. 20. The Democrats hold caucuses in Nevada that same day. The two states offer candidates their first opportunities to compete for a large and diverse electorate. The Democrats’ New Hampshire victor, Bernie Sanders, is off to New York on Wednesday for breakfast with the Rev. Al Sharpton, hoping to boost his appeal with minorities. How does Hillary Clinton, also headed to New York, respond to her New Hampshire thumping amid talk of a campaign shake-up. “We’re going to take stock, but it’s going to be the campaign that I’ve got,” Clinton told MSNBC ahead of the vote.

Watch the PBS NewsHour Democratic Primary Debate, 9 p.m. EST Feb. 11, on your local PBS station, and in our live stream, which will begin at 8:30 p.m.

DEPARTURE LOUNGE: Iowa was the end of the line for four candidates. More candidates could well head for the exits after New Hampshire. Chris Christie, who put huge effort into New Hampshire and came up lagging, headed home to New Jersey to “take a deep breath” and decide what to do about his presidential campaign.

CHA-CHING: Look for a surge in campaign cash for those with strong finishes, as happened to Sanders and Ted Cruz after Iowa. John Kasich, who pulled out second in New Hampshire, is counting on it. “We have a lot of people who have been promising money if we perform,” said Kasich senior adviser Tom Rath. “Tonight, we performed.”

CREATIVE WRITING: There are all sorts of ways for runners-up to spin the results to their advantage. Candidate Bill Clinton masterfully framed his second-place finish in New Hampshire in 1992 as a big victory for the “Comeback Kid.” This time, Kasich is treating second more like a win, calling it evidence that a positive message resonates with Americans. Jeb Bush seems genuinely thrilled to say his campaign “is not dead.”

NEW HAMPSHIRE HANGOVER? Watch how the also-rans cope. Marco Rubio is blaming himself for his disappointing finish, acknowledging he “did not do well” in Saturday night’s debate.

PILING ON: Lower-finishing GOP candidates can be expected to gang up on the New Hampshire success stories. That’s what happened to the Rubio after he exceeded expectations with a strong third-place finish in Iowa. Is Kasich in for a thrashing?

AD NAUSEAM: The presidential hopefuls and their supporters already are planning to spend $35 million in South Carolina and $7 million in Nevada on TV and radio commercials, amounts that will rise significantly as voting approaches. Big spenders in South Carolina so far are Rubio and his allies, Cruz and his supporters and a super PAC backing Bush, advertising tracker Kantar Media’s CMAG shows. Trump also burst back onto TV there beginning Tuesday.

ENDORSEMENTS: More will pop after New Hampshire. The Republicans who hang in there will try to snag endorsements from those who bug out. And others may weigh in. Among them: The Congressional Black Caucus political action committee promised to make its endorsement after New Hampshire. Republicans are wondering if South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley will pick a favorite.

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Associated Press writers Julie Bykowicz in Washington and Bill Barrow in Columbia, South Carolina, contributed to this report.

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