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Bernie Sanders wins New Hampshire primary, makes Jewish history

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernard Sanders, I-Vt., speaking at a Get Out the Vote rally in Manchester, New Hampshire, Feb. 8, 2016. (Meredith Dake-O'Connor/CQ Roll Call)

(JTA) – Bernie Sanders made history Tuesday night when he became the first Jewish candidate in U.S. history to win a presidential primary election.

With the vote results in New Hampshire still trickling in, the Independent senator from Vermont was projected to handily defeat former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primary 58-40 percent, according to The Associated Press and CNN.

Sanders, a secular Jew and self-described democratic socialist who has made economic inequality in America the centerpiece of his campaign, had been the favorite to win in New Hampshire, and in last week’s Iowa caucuses he nearly tied Clinton. But Sanders is expected to face uphill contests against Clinton in contests later this month in Nevada and South Carolina.

On the Republican side, businessman Donald Trump was projected to score a decisive victory over his rivals, capturing 34 percent of the vote. The next-best finisher was projected to be Ohio Gov. John Kasich, with 16 percent of the vote. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas were neck and neck, at about 11 percent. Results were still incomplete as of 8:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Though New Hampshire is home to just 1.3 million Americans, the state holds the nation’s first primary and long has been a decisive early proving ground for presidential candidates.

An estimated 10,000 Jews live in New Hampshire.