Breaking News from the New Hampshire Primary:
11 p.m. Huntsman: 'Third Place is a Ticket to Ride'
Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman vowed Tuesday to press on to South Carolina after finishing third in the New Hampshire primary on which he had staked his candidacy — and despite huge hurdles ahead.
"I say third place is a ticket to ride, ladies and gentleman! Hello, South Carolina!" Huntsman told supporters at a Manchester restaurant.
Huntsman heads to that state Wednesday.
10:55 p.m.: Santorum Aims to be Campaign's 'True Conservative'
MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum says he wants to emerge as the "true conservative" of the GOP primary race.
Santorum is locked in a tight race for fourth place with former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. It's a dip from last week's Iowa caucuses in which he finished just a handful of votes behind winner Mitt Romney.
Santorum tells supporters that he hopes to continue in the primary race and wants to emerge as the GOP's true conservative candidate.
10:45 p.m.: Gingrich Says Focus in SC Will be on Jobs
MERRIMACK, N.H. (AP) — Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, finishing out of the top three in New Hampshire's Republican primary, says he's going to focus on jobs when he campaigns in South Carolina.
Gingrich says that his campaign has an opportunity to unify the country around the message of jobs.
10:30 p.m.: SC Primary to be Closer Than Expected, Pollster says
(Newsmax) Mitt Romney’s victory in New Hampshire assures him “clear front-runner” status heading into the South Carolina primary, but he predicts that Romney will find very different voter dynamics in the Palmetto State, respected pollster Matt Towery tells Newsmax.
“It’s not a smashing victory. It’s a good victory. It’s a solid victory and it puts him as the clear front-runner for the Republican race,” said Towery, chief pollster for InsiderAdvantage.
“I would warn everyone: South Carolina will be the decisive race,” he declared Tuesday night, adding that South Carolina has been harder hit by the difficult economy than either Iowa or New Hampshire. “You get into South Carolina and you get into Florida and you’re going to find out what it’s like to see some really upset people.”
10 p.m.: Romney Wins Four Delegates; Four Still to be Awarded
WASHINGTON (AP) — Republican Mitt Romney has added to his lead in the race for convention delegates by winning the New Hampshire primary.
The former Massachusetts governor won at least four delegates in Tuesday's primary, with four still to be awarded. Texas Rep. Ron Paul came in second with at least two delegates and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman came in third with at least one.
There were only 12 delegates at stake in New Hampshire because the state was penalized half its GOP delegates for holding its primary before February.
Romney won 13 delegates in last week's Iowa caucuses, giving him a total of 17 so far. It will take 1,144 delegates to win the Republican nomination.
9:45 p.m. Paul Big Winner Among NH Youth
(Newsmax) New Hampshire primary winner Mitt Romney topped his GOP opponents among those who consider themselves most conservative but fell far behind Rep. Ron Paul among the young; a group that helped propel President Barack Obama to victory in 2008.
Of the 9 percent of New Hampshire voters who were 18 to 24, Paul grabbed 47 percent of the vote with Romney at 26, Huntsman at 14, Santorum at 7 and Gingrich at 3.
9:50 p.m.: More Than 50% of Precincts Counted
Mitt Romney, 38%
Ron Paul, 24%
Jon Huntsman, 17%
Newt Gingrich, 10%
Rick Santorum, 10%
Rick Perry, 1%
9:35 Paul Happy With Second-Place Finish
(NYT) MANCHESTER, N.H. -- Ron Paul declared himself satisfied with his second-place showing in the New Hampshire primary, calling it "a victory for the cause of liberty tonight."
Paul, a congressman from Texas, said he called to congratulate Mitt Romney on his win in the state, The New York Times reported. But he said that he will continue to wage the "intellectual revolution" that he has started.
"There is no way they are going to stop the momentum that we have started," Paul told a raucous crowd shortly after Romney gave his own speech.
Paul bragged about getting the political system to talk about "real cuts" in spending, monetary policy and the Federal Reserve.
9:30 p.m.: Film Portrays Romney as Financier 'More Ruthless Than Wall Street'
(Bloomberg) Mitt Romney is depicted as a financier “more ruthless than Wall Street” and a son of privilege responsible for laying off thousands of workers in a 28-minute film bankrolled by supporters of Newt Gingrich set to be released Wednesday
in South Carolina.
The film, obtained by Bloomberg News, attacks Romney’s record as the chief executive officer of Bain Capital LLC, a private-equity firm. It highlights the stories of workers who lost their jobs after the companies they worked for were acquired by Bain.
“Make a profit,” a laughing Romney is shown saying in the film. “That’s what it’s all about, right?”
Titled “When Mitt Romney Came to Town,” the film produced by Jason Killian Meath, a former Republican National Committee aide, is being funded by Winning Our Future, an organization run by longtime aides to Gingrich.
9:15 p.m. McCain: Romney Had ‘Significant Victory’
(Newsmax) Sen. John McCain described tonight’s victory in the New Hampshire primary as a “significant victory” for Mitt Romney but said that the big surprise was that Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum failed to do better.
“I think what happened tonight, particularly with Ron Paul being the strong second, that is the significance of this vote tonight,” McCain said on Fox News.
“I always expected . . . Mitt to come in around 36 or 37 percent, something like that but the weak showing by Santorum and Gingrich is certainly surprising to me."
McCain, who recently endorsed Romney, attributed Paul’s strong showing to what he described as a “rising sentiment” of isolationism, reminiscent of the 1930s.
9:05 p.m. Nearly one-third of precincts counted
(CNN) With 30 percent of New Hampshire precincts reporting, Mitt Romney has 36 percent of the vote; Ron Paul has 25 percent; Jon Huntsman has 17 percent.
9 p.m.: Tea Party Supporters Backed Romney
(Newsmax) Tea party supporters lined up behind former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney in his New Hampshire primary victory.
Exit polls show that of the 51 percent of voters who said they supported the tea party movement, 37 percent went for Romney. Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, the projected second-place finisher, had 22 percent of tea party support followed by former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum was at 16 percent.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich had 14 percent, former Utah governor Jon Huntsman had 9 percent and Texas Gov. Rick Perry had 1 percent.
8:50 p.m.: More From Romney; He Declares “Granite State Moment’
(Newsmax) Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney declared victory tonight in the Granite State’s first-in-the nation presidential primary after early results showed him taking 35 percent of the vote.
“Thank you New Hampshire. Tonight we made history,” Romney said with his wife and five sons standing behind him shortly before 8:30 p.m.
“This state has always been a very special place for our family. Ann and I have made a home here. We filled it with great memories of our children, our grandchildren. The Granite State moment we’ve just enjoyed is one we will always remember.”
But referring to the upcoming South Carolina primary, Romney said, “Tonight we celebrate. Tomorrow we go back to work.”
8:45 p.m.: Romney: 'Tonight, We Made History'
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, winner of the New Hampshire primary Tuesday night, told cheering supporters, "Tonight, we made history."
With his victory, Romney became the first Republican to sweep the first two contests in competitive races since Iowa gained the lead-off spot in presidential campaigns in 1976.
Returns from the first 21 percent of New Hampshire precincts showed Romney with 35 percent of the vote, followed by Paul with 25 percent, Huntsman 17 percent and former House Speaker Gingrich and former Pennsylvania Sen. Santorum with 10 percent each.
8:35 p.m.: Huntsman: Campaign Strong, Headed to SC
CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman says his campaign is in a strong, confident position and will be heading to South Carolina.
Huntsman, in third place in early returns in the New Hampshire primary, says that all eyes are going to be turned south and focused on South Carolina's primary.
Huntsman tells CNN that voters will be looking for a candidate who won't talk about the enjoyment of firing people or pink slips — a reference to Mitt Romney's comments this week that were seized upon by his rivals.
8:30 p.m. Voters cite Romney's business experience
(Reuters) Voters responded to Mitt Romney's claim that his private sector experience would help him galvanize the weak U.S. economy.
"I was looking for someone who is smart, knows our country, knows the financial system and how to get the country moving again with jobs," said Eddie Carr, a 77-year-old school bus driver who voted for Romney. "I think it was right to vote for him. I think he can get the country going."
8:15: NH vote makes Romney the man to beat
CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney won the New Hampshire primary Tuesday night, adding to a first-place finish in last week's Iowa caucuses and establishing himself as the man to beat for the Republican presidential nomination.
Texas Rep. Ron Paul led former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman for second place, with Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum trailing.
Returns from the first 13 percent of the state's precincts showed Romney with 36 percent of the vote, followed by Paul with 24 percent and Huntsman with 18 percent.
Former House Speaker Gingrich and former Pennsylvania Sen. Santorum had 10 percent and 9 percent respectively.
8:05: AP, Major Networks Say Mitt Romney Wins New Hampshire Primary; Paul in Second, Huntsman Third.
CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has won the New Hampshire Republican primary. Romney is the first Republican to win both the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary in a competitive race since Iowa took the leadoff role in 1976.
8:01: CNN Says Mitt Romney Wins New Hampshire Primary
8:00: Polls Close in New Hampshire; Romney Leads:
With 7 percent of New Hampshire's precincts reporting, Mitt Romney leads the GOP's presidential nomination fight with 36 percent of the vote.
He's followed by Texas congressman Ron Paul with 25 percent and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman with 15 percent.
Of the more than 300,000 ballots expected to be cast in New Hampshire today, a sizable portion will come from a rather narrow geographic range -- mostly south of Concord from the Vermont border to the coast. And yet in this small state there are enough regional distinctions that campaigns must be mindful of in mapping out their strategies.
There are 12 pledged GOP delegates at stake tonight in the New Hampshire Primary. In order to become the party's nominee for president, a candidate must receive a majority of votes from delegates attending the national conventions this summer.
With 4 percent of New Hampshire’s precincts reporting, Mitt Romney leads the GOP’s presidential nomination fight with 37 percent of the vote.
He’s followed by Texas congressman Ron Paul with 24 percent and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman with 15 percent.
Updated: Romney 35.3%, Paul 26.8%, Huntsman 14.0% via AP at 7:31 p.m. ET. 1.3% in. politi.co/3tci9N #NHprimary
7:32: AP: Romney Ahead in Early Returns
Mitt Romney jumped ahead in early returns from the New Hampshire primary Tuesday night, eager to add to the previous week's first-place finish in the Iowa caucuses and cement himself as the man to beat for the Republican presidential nomination.
Returns from the first three precincts showed the former Massachusetts governor with 38 percent of the vote, followed by Texas Rep. Ron Paul with 23 percent and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman with 16 percent.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum trailed with 11 percent and 9 percent respectively.
7:25: Politico: Herman Cain Invokes '11th Commandment'
Herman Cain on Tuesday scolded the Republican presidential candidates for attacking each other, citing Ronald Reagan’s “eleventh commandment” — except he was confused about the number.
“Look, these candidates have broken the Reagan’s rule from the beginning. Reagan’s ‘thirteenth commandment’, you know? Don’t go negative against another Republican, but they did it anyway!” Cain told Neil Cavuto of Fox News on the day of the New Hampshire primary.
Reagan is credited for having popularized the maxim that’s become known as the eleventh commandment: “Thou shall not speak ill of any fellow Republican.”
Cain, who has promised to make a formal endorsement on Jan. 19, continued to blast the GOP field for engaging in a “food fight” of negative attacks.
7:14 p.m. USA TODAY: Most Polls Closed in New Hampshire; All Polls Close at 8 p.m.
ROCHESTER, N.H. – With most polling places closed here, Mitt Romney was poised to capture the nation's first primary election Tuesday, withstanding both stepped-up attacks by his Republican opponents and slippage among voters.
Romney's standing in the Granite State had slid to 33% from 43% in the past five days, according to a Suffolk University/7News tracking poll.
Still, he continued to hold a healthy lead, according to the poll. Texas Rep. Ron Paul was second at 20% and former Utah governor Jon Huntsman third at 13%. Former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum, who came in second to Romney by just eight votes in Iowa last week, received 10%.
7:09: Carville: New Hampshire Won't End GOP Fight
Democrat strategist James Carville does not predict that today’s New Hampshire primary will end in an eight-vote nail-biter like last week’s Iowa caucuses but he left open the possibility for the unexpected.
“We could but I doubt that we will,” said Carville on CNN, referring to the possibility of an upset. “New Hampshire could surprise.”
Based on the latest polls, Carville said that Romney will most likely win tonight’s primary, but he could stumble elsewhere, such as South Carolina.
Experts will be looking to see if Romney surpasses 30 percent of the vote in New Hampshire, according to Carville.
“The closer he gets to 40 the better off he is. The closer to 30, the worse off he is,” Carville adds.
7:08: Gingrich Sets Bar for Romney at 50 Percent
Former House speaker Newt Gingrich tells CNN’s John King that if Romney wins less than 50 percent tonight, he’ll have a tough time making the argument that he’s the frontrunner for the nomination.
It’s a line that Gingrich – who’s trailing badly in the New Hampshire polls – has employed against Romney in recent days. The logic goes that even if Romney wins a plurality of New Hampshire voters in the six-candidate race, that means that he’ll have been rejected by a majority.
7:02: Perry Likely to Prevail on Virginia Ballot Challenge
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A judge says Texas Gov. Rick Perry and three other presidential candidates are likely to prevail on a key issue in their lawsuit seeking inclusion on Virginia's Republican primary ballot.
U.S. District Judge John Gibney said in court papers Tuesday that a provision that allows only Virginia residents to circulate petitions to get candidates on the ballot is probably unconstitutional. Gibney was explaining his order barring distribution of absentee ballots until after a Friday hearing.
Perry sued after failing to collect the 10,000 voter signatures required to qualify for the state's March 6 primary. Newt Gingrich, Jon Huntsman and Rick Santorum also failed to qualify and later joined Perry's lawsuit.
Only former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Texas congressman Ron Paul qualified for the Virginia GOP primary.
6:54: CNN details from its exit poll
Just as in Iowa, nearly half the voters in New Hampshire’s Republican primary (46%) didn’t make up their minds until the final few days of the contest, and roughly 1 in 5 didn’t decide on a candidate until Election Day, according to early CNN exit polls.
What helped those late deciders make their presidential picks? One big factor, as it’s been all year, may have been the presidential debates – two of them held in New Hampshire within the race’s final three days. More than 4 in 5 of New Hampshire’s GOP primary voters say those faceoffs were an important to their vote today.
Brian Stelter of the New York Times tweets that first place in New Hampshire may be called as soon as the polls close at 8 p.m.:
6:48: Huntsman Says New Hampshire Crucial to Election Hopes
Presidential hopeful Jon Huntsman is hoping that a strong wave of independent voters will “upend conventional wisdom” in today’s New Hampshire primary and propel his candidacy on to South Carolina.
“We have to do well. Make no mistake about it,” Huntsman told CNN.
With a record voter turnout predicted by the New Hampshire Secretary of State’s office, analysts believe that a large number of independent voters — perhaps as high as 40 percent —could benefit either Huntsman or Texas Rep. Ron Paul.
“I’m actually electable based on all of the analytical work that has been done. I can actually go on to beat Barack Obama,” Huntsman told host Wolf Blitzer. “Ron Paul has capped out at about 15 percent of the vote for the last couple of election cycles and there’s no reason to believe that he would be winning over more than that.”
Huntsman, who all but bypassed the Iowa caucuses in favor of today’s New Hampshire primary, did not say how well his campaign must do to continue on to South Carolina.
He said that the negative campaign ads that have largely defined the nomination process thus far will ultimately lead to a stronger GOP contender to go up against President Obama.
“I do believe that what you’re seeing right now — poisonous as it might sound from time to time — is likely to make a stronger nominee ultimately,” according to Huntsman.
6:44: CNN: 8 of 10 Voters Used GOP Debates to Choose Candidate
Less than an hour away from the close of most New Hampshire polls, the first exit reports revealed that eight of 10 voters used the GOP debates to help choose a candidate.
According to CNN, 81 percent of voters said that the debates, including back-to-back debates last weekend, were “very important,” or” somewhat important” to how they cast their vote.
The exit poll also found that 19 percent of voters made up their minds today and 27 percent in the “last few days,” which was consistent with findings during the last presidential election in 2008.
6:41: Wrapup from Reuters:
MANCHESTER, N.H., Jan 10 (Reuters) - Mitt Romney was poised to win his second straight battle in the race for the Republican U.S. presidential nomination on Tuesday but it remained to be seen whether his anticipated victory in New Hampshire would be sizeable enough to put to rest doubts about his candidacy.
The former investment firm chief maintained a sizable lead in opinion polls in the New Hampshire primary contest despite rivals' fierce 11th-hour attacks painting him as a heartless corporate raider who enjoys cutting jobs.
Romney's stint as a relatively moderate governor of neighboring Massachusetts has also caused many conservative Republican voters to view him skeptically.
The New Hampshire primary is the second contest in the state-by-state battle for the Republican presidential nomination to face Democratic President Barack Obama on Nov. 6. Romney narrowly won the first contest, the Iowa caucuses, on Jan. 3.
Ron Paul, a U.S. congressman known for his libertarian views, and Jon Huntsman, a moderate former U.S. ambassador to China, appeared to be in a battle for second place in New Hampshire, the small New England state known for its independent streak and outsized role in presidential campaigns.
6:38: MANCHESTER, N.H. — Polls in New Hampshire close at 7 p.m as the Republican candidates prepare to dash from the state. Unlike the Iowa contest last week, New Hampshire is a traditional primary, with voters casting their ballots throughout the day.
6:36: Exit Polls Highlight Difference Between Iowa and New Hampshire
Early exit poll results highlight the differences between the Republican primary electorate in New Hampshire and caucus-goers in Iowa, and provide a window into the first-in-the-nation decision-making process.
THE ECONOMY: Early New Hampshire voters were more apt than Iowa caucus-goers to say the economy was the most important issue in deciding their vote. Few primary voters say their own personal financial situation has been getting worse, but they are deeply concerned about the direction the national economy is taking. Still, more say the next president should prioritize cutting the budget deficit even if that limits potential job growth.
REGISTERED INDEPENDENTS: Voters who are registered as independents or who have not chosen a party made up more than 4 in 10 voters this time around compared to about a third in 2008. Unaffiliated voters in New Hampshire can choose to participate in either party's primary; there is not a contested Democratic primary this year.
VIEWS OF OBAMA: Voters expressed deep opposition to President Barack Obama. Overall, about 8 in 10 said they were dissatisfied with the president's policies, including 4 in 10 who described themselves as "angry."
AD WARS: Most New Hampshire voters said campaign advertising was not a major factor in their vote. Voters were divided on which candidate ran the most unfair campaign, with Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich near the top of that list.
GETTING OUT THE VOTE: About half of New Hampshire GOP voters said they were contacted by the campaign of the candidate they supported at the polls, with most of those reached by the more traditional mail or phone than by email or text message.
The exit poll was conducted for The Associated Press and the television networks by Edison Research as voters left their polling places at 40 randomly selected sites in New Hampshire. Preliminary results include interviews with 1,774 voters and have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.
6:33: More exit poll data from AP:
Tuesday's exit poll underscored how dominant the economy is as an issue in New Hampshire. About 6 in 10 who voted Tuesday cited the economy as their chief worry, more than twice the number who cited the federal budget deficit, the next most frequently cited concern.
In addition, about 7 in 10 said they were very worried about the direction of the nation's economy, far more than said so four years ago.
Around half of those voting Tuesday consider themselves conservative, compared to 8 in 10 Iowa voters last week. About half in New Hampshire expressed support for the tea party, less than the nearly two-thirds who said so in Iowa.
6:31: Exit poll data from the Associated Press
Economy easily top concern among NH primary voters
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The economy was easily the top concern of people voting in the New Hampshire Republican presidential primary, according to early results of an exit poll of voters Tuesday.
In addition, about a third of them said their main criterion in picking a candidate was finding one who can defeat President Barack Obama in this fall's elections. That was slightly more than said they were seeking a GOP contender with the right experience or with strong moral character. It was also roughly the same proportion who said in last week's Iowa GOP caucuses that they were mainly looking for someone who could oust Obama.
A majority of voters said they're considering the candidates' issue positions more than their personal qualities. And in one measure of voters' overall view of the contenders, about two-thirds said they were satisfied with the GOP field.
6:27: Exit poll data from Washington Post:
The economy is the No. 1 issue by a long shot in New Hampshire. About six in 10 voters in preliminary exit polls name it as most important, dwarfing the deficit, abortion or health care. So far, the economy is an even more dominant issue in New Hampshire than it was in the Iowa caucuses last week. Nearly seven in 10 New Hampshire voters say they are very worried about the national economy, even as the state’s 5.2 percent unemployment rate is among the lowest in the country.
6:11 p.m: Gingrich says NH not a 'fortress' for rival Romney
MERRIMACK, N.H. (AP) — Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich
said he anticipated finishing in the "top three or four" in Tuesday's New Hampshire primary and confronting front-runner Mitt Romney
head-on in South Carolina
"The ideal South Carolina fight would be a Georgia conservative vs. a Massachussetts moderate," Gingrich told reporters aboard a press bus after a visit to a polling place in Merrimack, N.H.
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