Mitt Romney Meets Expectations
As expected, Mitt Romney scored a major victory in New Hampshire last night. Romney bested his nearest competitor by 17 points. The question going into the New Hampshire primary was never whether or not Romney could win, but rather whether he could beat his incredibly high expectations. In every way, shape, and form, Romney did that last night. After having narrowly won Iowa and now winning big in New Hampshire, Romney is in command of the Republican nomination. As the race shifts to South Carolina and Romney’s home field advantage vanishes, he will have to prove that he can win a conservative primary that is only open to Republican voters.
An Impressive Second Place Finish for Ron Paul
The Paul campaign has to be ecstatic with their strong second place win in New Hampshire. That said, they also have to be wondering what might have been had they finished in second place in Iowa a week earlier. Paul declared that the race is now between himself and Romney, but the real challenger to Romney moving ahead is probably a conservative such as Rick Santorum or Newt Gingrich. What will be interesting to watch going forward is whether or not Paul will engage Romney instead of Santorum.
Jon Huntsman Bets It All On New Hampshire and Finishes a Distant Third
Huntsman tried to put a good face on his third place finish last night. However, the real question is where does he go from here. Having spent the entire campaign traveling around New Hampshire and painting himself as a moderate to liberal Republican, Huntsman has nothing to show for his effort, and South Carolina is not going to be hospitable to the brand of conservatism he is selling. He may stick around, but he’s not going anywhere.
Gingrich Edges Out Santorum for Fourth Place
Gingrich has gotten aggressive with Romney, but we don’t know if that will help him win or cause Romney to lose. Gingrich’s strategy is risky, but for a candidate who has finished fourth in the first two contests, he may not have any other choice. Despite his poor finishes, Gingrich still attracts plenty of news coverage due to his combative remarks. Gingrich will also benefit from the two debates that will be held in South Carolina next week.
Santorum Struggles In New Hampshire’s Open Primary
Nobody expected Santorum to challenge the frontrunners in New Hampshire, but this campaign has to be disappointed by finishing behind Gingrich, even by a narrow margin. Unlike Iowa, Santorum’s campaign did not run network television ads and the Red, White, and Blue Fund, a pro-Santorum super PAC, also didn’t invest in the state. For Santorum and the other conservatives in the race, the focus has always been South Carolina. If they can’t stop Romney there, he’s probably not going to be stopped.
Rick Perry Doesn’t Even Break One Percent
Even thought Rick Perry didn’t campaign in New Hampshire last week, a sitting Texas governor finishing with less than one percent of the vote is embarrassing. When Perry entered the race, he was touted as the conservative alternative to Mitt Romney. After finishing fifth in Iowa and waving the white flag in New Hampshire, it’s now clear that he is more of a spoiler than challenger to win the nomination.
Photo by Dave Davidson – Prezography.com
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