Trump, Sanders win New Hampshire primary; Kasich projected in second place in GOP race

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CONCORD, N.H. -- Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Bernie Sanders have cruised to victories in the New Hampshire primary, CNN projects, in a pair of results that will shake up the presidential race and confirm the strength of anti-establishment candidates.

Gov. John Kasich of Ohio was projected to finish in second place in the Republican primary.

Trump's victory restores the mantle of a winner to the billionaire reality star's campaign after he finished second last week in Iowa and validates him as a powerful new force in American politics.

The race for second in New Hampshire could determine which Republican candidate emerges as a chief rival to Trump in the months ahead.

Sanders, meanwhile, delivered a painful blow to Democratic rival Hillary Clinton after she edged out the slimmest of victories in Iowa. His win ensures that the fight for the Democratic nomination will only intensify heading into Nevada, South Carolina and the Super Tuesday contest and may exacerbate signs of internal discontent about the structure of Clinton's campaign that are already emerging.

Sanders' win was expected for the senator from a neighboring state who had been ahead in public opinion polls. But it could nonetheless give Democrats further pause about Clinton. The victory for the self-described democratic socialist also robs Clinton of victory in a state she won during the 2008 presidential primary and which gave her husband momentum on his way to the White House in 1992.

The Clinton campaign quickly released a statement of concession.

"After splitting the first two contests, an outcome we've long anticipated, attention will inevitably focus on the next two of the 'early four' states: Nevada and South Carolina," the campaign said in a memo. "We've built first-rate organizations in each state and we feel very good about our prospects for success."

Rubio's stumble

Candidates spent the day touring polling places and taking last-minute shots at one another as they awaited the judgment of voters in the second crucial contest of the nominating season after Texas Sen. Ted Cruz won last week's Iowa caucuses for Republicans and Clinton barely edged Sanders.

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio will find out whether his stumble under New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's ferocious fire at Saturday's GOP debate will stall his momentum after he looked on track to emerge as the top establishment candidate in the state.

As he left a polling station in Derry, Rubio dismissed concerns about his debate performance as a "media thing."

"Voters in New Hampshire are serious about, they understand what's at stake here," Rubio told CNN's Dana Bash. "The future of America is at stake."

The primary also represents a make-or-break moment for establishment candidates like Ohio Gov. John Kasich, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Christie, who could find it very difficult to raise sufficient campaign cash to continue if they get a poor result.

Kasich accused Bush's once front-running campaign of "freaking out" after it upped attacks against him.

"They're getting more and more desperate. They need to relax a little bit. You know, it's just an election, a campaign," he told John Berman and Kate Bolduan on CNN's "At This Hour."

For their part, Democrats are waiting to assess the magnitude of Sanders' victory over Clinton, which could offer the anti-Wall Street crusader a boost heading into less-hospitable territory in Southern states.

The former secretary of state went to a Dunkin' Donuts with her daughter, Chelsea, and several polling locations and bumped into Frank Fiorina, the husband of Republican candidate Carly Fiorina, who has been a scorching critic of Clinton during the campaign. She asked him to send her best regards to Fiorina.

Despite his lowly position in the polls, Christie has spent the past few days basking in his debate assault on Rubio.

Under pressure from the New Jersey brawler, Rubio repeated the same line four times during the debate, exacerbating criticisms that he is overly scripted.

"When the lights get that bright, you either shine or you melt, and we can't afford to have a president who melts," Christie said Monday at a campaign event in Hudson, New Hampshire.

Christie, Bush and Kasich are hoping that Rubio's rough night halts momentum he built up coming third in Iowa. A strong second place in the Granite State would enhance Rubio's case that he is best-positioned to consolidate opposition to Trump and Cruz.

Report: Clinton staff shakeup possible

Only hours before the primary, new clouds gathered around the Clinton campaign following a Politico report that the candidate and her husband were disappointed with the direction of her campaign and that a staff shakeup could be in the offing.

Clinton, after a campaign stop in Manchester, responded to the reports of a campaign shakeup in an interview on MSNBC's "The Rachel Maddow Show" on Monday, acknowledging her campaign will "take stock" of their operation.

"I have no idea what they're talking about or who they are talking to," Clinton said of the Politico report. "We're going to take stock, but it's going to be the campaign that I've got. I'm very confident in the people that I have. I'm very committed to them, they're committed to doing the best we can."

David Axelrod, a CNN senior political commentator and former top adviser to President Barack Obama, suggested that the blame lies at the top.

"When the exact same problems crop up in separate campaigns, with different staff, at what point do the principals say, 'Hey, maybe it's US?'" Axelrod tweeted.