Mitt Romney Wins New Hampshire GOP Primary
CNN and the Associated Press projected former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney as the winner of the GOP New Hampshire primary Tuesday, a result that became increasingly expected as the day drew on.
The polls in New Hampshire opened at midnight, as three questions loomed over the polls: what would be Mitt Romney's percentage? Who would place second? And, who would place third?
It seems that shortly after the polls closed, all three questions were answered. Early returns taken shortly after polls closed in New Hampshire showed Texas Rep. Ron Paul taking second place with approximately 25 percent of the vote, and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman taking third place with around 18 percent of the vote. Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum were battling for fourth and fifth place, while Rick Perry - who was in South Carolina campaigning on Tuesday - finished well behind the rest of the pack.
Early returns indicate Romney has captured at least one-third of the vote, if not more.
With his victory, Romney becomes the first non-incumbent Republican candidate to win both the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary since 1976.
"Tonight we made history," Romney said in his victory speech, thanking his supporters in New Hampshire for propelling him to victory. “If I am president of the United States, I will not forget New Hampshire.”
After a disappointing performance in Iowa, the Huntsman campaign seemed upbeat and positive about their third place finish, confirming the former governor would be participating in the South Carolina primary.
The total voter turnout in New Hampshire Tuesday is expected to top 250,000, breaking a record for any New Hampshire primary.
"We're hearing that the turnout is steady," Deputy Secretary of State David Scanlan said. "There aren't lines that are backing up, but people are just constantly moving through the polling places. It's certainly what we would expect during a presidential primary."
With President Obama being the only major candidate on the Democratic side, some analysts have said more undecided voters may have been more influenced to weigh in on the Republican decision.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum were estimated to be in a tie for fourth place, well behind Huntsman and Paul. Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry was projected to place well in last carrying just over one percent of the vote.
However, the GOP Presidential nomination was not the only thing that weighed on voters minds Tuesday.
Early exit poll data showed that nearly seven out of 10 Republican voters in the state were very worried about the economy and their personal financial situation.
One in four said the deficit was the most important issue. Also, more than three-quarters of respondents said the series of Republican debates was important to their final decision, while less than half said television ads were important.
South Carolina is the next state slated to hold a primary election on January 21. The latest polls show Romney leading the rest of the Republican field there.
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