Romney Wins Easily in NH; Paul, 2nd; Huntsman, 3rd

Huntsman staying in the race
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 10, 2012 8:55 AM CST
Updated Jan 10, 2012 8:55 PM CST
Romney Still Poised for Big NH Win
Mitt Romney kisses his wife, Ann, at the victory celebration in Manchester, NH.   (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

Mitt Romney cruised to victory as expected in New Hampshire, with the race called by AP, CNN, and others immediately after the polls closed at 8. With 95% of returns in, he had 39.4%, followed by Ron Paul with 22.8, Jon Huntsman with 16.8, Newt Gingrich with 9.4, Rick Santorum with 9.3, and Rick Perry with below 1%. Huntsman asserted there were "at least three tickets out of New Hampshire," meaning he's not dropping out.

In exit polling, voters said the No. 1 issue in the race was the economy, and one-third said a candidate's most important quality was the ability to beat Obama. As Politico notes, Romney's rivals were trying to shift attention to South Carolina's vote on Jan. 21 even before the polls closed. “We’re all going to be dividing the vote, and I think it will shake itself out when we get to South Carolina,” said Gingrich. (More Mitt Romney 2012 stories.)

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