Flanked by his beautiful wife and daughters, Governor Jon Huntsman emphatically confirmed that, despite coming in third with 17 percent of the vote, he had achieved his goal of exceeding expectations. Apparently this was the momentum the campaign needed in order to continue fighting. He started his speech by saying, "Third place is a ticket to ride," and "South Carolina, here we come!"
At one point in the speech, after Huntsman said "I believe in America," a lone supporter shouted "And we believe in Jon Huntsman!" which triggered an energetic cheer.
Speaking to a cheering crowd, Congressman Ron Paul hit on some key points of his campaign. He noted the large amount of energy that his campaign found on college campuses around the country, and he charged that the Federal Reserve was "taking care" of the "military-industrial complex" and financing more deficit spending by the government. He said that the "liberty movement" had brought forward the issues of "funny money" and the cost of acting as the "policeman" of the world. Paul closed his speech by saying "we will restore freedom to this country."
Santorum campaign officials have told the crowd of 150 supporters here in Manchester that the candidate should take the stage in 10 minutes or so.
The large TV's that have been monitoring the race (which is now between him and Gingrich for 4th) have been switched off. It will allow Santorum to take the stage without having Gingrich visibly overtake him in the results or a Gingrich speech to overshadow his.
Meantime, Santorum has a private plane waiting to take him to South Carolina as soon as he's done.
Richard Lowrance isn't surprised that Gingrich is only pulling 10-percent of the vote here in New Hampshire. "There was a huge undecided factor right up until today," says Lowrance. "It was really difficult to predict how this would go."
As a volunteer for the campaign, Lowrance, a Nashua resident, has seen crowds grow at recent events. "I think South Carolina is going to go much better for us. This is still a very open race."
Results are still coming in, and candidates are still hitting the podium - but here at Romney HQ, all has gone quiet after an early victory speech from Mitt Romney. The event space cleared quickly after Romney made his way around the room. Only staffers and media remain - the latter quietly continuing to log election coverage as it airs across several flat screen televisions.
Field producer Kevin Flynn snapped this photo of a button being worn by supporters at Rick Santorum's camp tonight. With nearly half of the precincts reporting, Santorum is in fifth place with 10% of the vote.
The ballroom here at the Radisson hotel has yet to get really crowded, but Newt supporters in attendance remain enthusiastic. One supporter, Glenn Fiscus, is unsurprised with Newt's poor showing in New Hampshire saying, "Romney did a hatchet job on him in Iowa," referring to the attack ads run by a pro-Romney group in that state. When asked how he liked Newt's chances going forward, Fiscus nods knowingly and says, "We'll see in South Carolina." A pro-Newt group in South Carolina has spent $3.2 million on a negative ad campaign in South Carolina.
Huntsman supporters are making full use of the bar in the Black Brimmer and it looks like a predominantly young crowd. Huntsman is holding a comfortable third place position with 17 percent of the vote with nearly half of the precincts reporting.
Participating in the NH Primary was not something Sean Michael O'Dwyer planned on doing. American-born, reared in Ireland, O'Dwyer heard Rick Santorum's (moral) victory speech in Iowa and was moved.
"When he was talking about looking at his grandfather's large hands," O'Dwyer recalled Santorum's story of going to his grandfather's wake, "he could have been talking about my father...He didn't work in the mines, but my father worked the land and he had these large hands."
Amid occasional chants of "President Paul," the crowd milling around the Ron Paul election night party is upbeat, though some faces are glum. The news of some networks calling second place for Ron Paul has not spread through the whole crowd, but those that have heard are not surprised. Many admit that they were hoping for first but expecting second.