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.
With Romney being declared the winner, the race now turns to the rest. With less than 20% of the polling stations reporting, Newt is grabbing 10-percent of the votes. The mood here at his HQ remains upbeat, with the crowd starting to file into the ballroom in anticipation of the former Speaker's speech.
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.
A stream of relatively young people moved into the hall at 7:45PM, when the Paul staffers opened the doors to the crowd. Among the chatter in the entering crowd was talk of a second-place finish and speculation surrounding exit polls. Some were glued to their phones, looking at or listening to results. Conversations also included talk about campaigns gone by, including the Giuliani campaign, and one Paul pin-adored supporter remarked that he had been driving people to the polls all day.