There was a mixture of relief and disappointment among guests at Jeb Bush’s primary night watch party in Manchester, New Hampshire.
The top candidate of the Republican establishment – and scion of one of the most powerful political dynasties in the United States – avoided the meltdown of his campaign for now.
However, the former governor of Florida was also unable to position himself as the leader of the anti-Trump forces within the Republican Party.
He trailed in after fellow moderate John Kasich, the governor of Ohio, and conservative Tea Party firebrand Ted Cruz, the senator from Texas.
In a speech to supporters, a defiant Bush promised to work hard to prevent “Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump” from taking over the country.
“Do you want someone like Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump, who will pursue their ambitions at the expense of service to the people who truly need help?”
“Do you want someone who organises their life by dividing us?”
“Do you want someone who suggests that the Republicans are their enemies, people who disagree with them?”
What happens now?
The eyes of Bush supporters are now all on the primary in South Carolina, the next competition in the presidential nominee contest.
They hope Bush will succeed in breaking out of the pack and score a desperately-needed victory.
However, experts like Georgetown University political analyst Jon-Christopher Bua say this may be wishful thinking.
“The man is having a very tough time and he is not showing, as we say, fire in the belly. He is not his brother and he is not his father.”
“It is really hard to live up to the Bush dynasty. I don’t think his heart is in it.”
Euronews correspondent Stefan Grobe says:
“Jeb Bush poured enormous resources into New Hampshire to jump start his White House bid. But despite all the money, his showing was weak. He might now face pressure from party leaders and donors to end his campaign.”
What they are saying
“This campaign is not dead” – Jeb Bush
“Everybody is laughing at Jeb Bush. He spent 100 million dollars and is at the bottom of the pack. A pathetic figure!” – Republican nominee rival Donald Trump
“Donald Trump is a loser, liar and whiner” – Jeb Bush
“I’m really disappointed in Jeb Bush. He has taken the very low road to the highest office in the land.” – John Kasich, Republican nominee rival.