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.
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."
Bill Boyd is like the father of the bride tonight. This Merrimack volunteer for the Santorum campaign has spent the whole day preparing the room for the candidate's primary night celebration. It's a stressful job, but one Boyd says is satisfying.
Boyd says he's been with Santorum since they met in November 2010.
At 7:00 pm, about 250 reporters, photographers and engineers are staking positions in the ballroom of the Derryfield Country Club in Manchester. There are a dozen satellite and ENG trucks in the parking lot, several with licenses plates from other time zones. Inside, the Santorum staff continues to play with signs and adjust lights, hoping to the make this an event most memorable.
In the hours before the polls close - and national reporters have nothing to do except bide their time before their live shots - there was some real buzz at the Santorum HQ. Literally. The audio system from the podium was plagued by a buzz. Any audio engineer will tell you such a gremlin is caused by a crossed wire, a short inside a line, or the impedance on a sound line being switched the wrong way. The problem is chasing it down among an army of radio and TV news crews.