Former Mayor Pete Buttigieg celebrated his second-place victory in the New Hampshire primary on Tuesday, falling behind Sen. Bernie Sanders.
The former mayor took the stage shortly before 11:00 p.m. to celebrate his second-place finish but touted it as proof that his campaign had momentum.
“I admired Sen. Sanders when I was a high school student, I respect him greatly to this day, and I congratulate him on his strong showing tonight,” he said, recalling a high school essay he wrote praising Sanders.
With 83 percent of the vote reporting, Buttigieg earned 24.22 percent, about a point short of Sanders, who had 25.86 percent, with a 5,000 point margin.
“Here in a state that goes by the motto ‘Live Free or Die, you made up your own mind,” Buttigieg said. “You asserted that famous independent streak.”
The former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, praised his fellow candidates Amy Klobuchar, Elizabeth Warren, and Joe Biden for their respective finishes in the primary.
But Buttigieg took a slight dig at his rivals who challenged his experience.
“So many of you decided that a middle-class mayor and a veteran from the industrial midwest was the right choice to take on this president, not in spite of that experience but because of it,” he said to cheers from his supporters.
But Buttigieg urged his supporters to remain united, praising his team for an inclusive message.
“I know that we all share the spirit,” he said, referring to his Democrat rivals. “We are all on the same team.”
Buttigieg said he was the right candidate to bring together Americans to defeat President Donald Trump, but warned of disunity in the party.
“A politics of my way or the highway is a road to reelecting Donald Trump,” he said. “Vulnerable Americans do not have the luxury of pursuing ideological purity over an inclusive victory.”
His supporters chanted “Boot-edge-edge” and “President Pete” during his speech.
Buttigieg also thanked his husband Chasten but did not appear with him on stage.
“Thank you to Chasten, to the love of my life, who keeps me grounded and gives me hope,” he said.