Political news from New Hampshire Public Radio, from the State House to the First in the Nation Primary.

On the air

Jan 10, 2012

NHPR's Brady Carlson is on the air with NPR Political Junkie Ken Rudin, and Dante Scala from the University of New Hampshire. 

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney used his New Hampshire primary victory speech to attack President Obama — with only a glancing nod to his Republican rivals.

Kevin Flynn for NHPR.

Speaking to a crowd of 150-300 supporters in Manchester, former PA Senator Rick Santorum says the momentum of Iowa and New Hampshire will take him into South Carolina against Mitt Romney.

Santorum thanked Granite State supporters for listening to his message of faith, family, and freedom.

Afterwards, Santorum and his family shook hands for ten minutes before leaving for a private runway at Boston/Manchester Airport. He'll spend the night in South Carolina.

Erik Swenson for NHPR

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." 

The end is near...

Jan 10, 2012

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.

Todd Bookman for NHPR

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."

Taylor Quimby for NHPR

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.

Kevin Flynn for NHPR

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.

Todd Bookman

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.

Politics on Tap

Jan 10, 2012
Ryan Lessard for NHPR

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. 

Kevin Flynn for NHPR.

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."

Congressman Ron Paul got up to speak at 8:59PM.  The crowd was enthusiastic and let loose many cheers in reaction to Congressman Paul's speech.



The lights have dimmed at the Ron Paul camp, which mean the speeches will begin in about ten minutes.  Three speakers are slated to go up before Congressman Paul.

NHPR's Jon Greenberg is ready to cover the event.



Ryan Lessard for NHPR

A group of Huntsman supporters have broken into spontaneous chanting. They are holding up the new red signs yelling "Country First". 

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.

Photo by Steve Duprey, Republican National Committee

Mitt Romney speaks over repeated cheers from an ecstatic crowd of supporters.  "Americans know that our future is brighter and better than these troubled times."  He also alludes to recent attacks he absorbed from his fellow candidates for his time at Bain Capital, saying, "President Obama wants to put free enterprise on trial, and in the last few days we've seen a few Republicans join him."  He made a chant of the message you've seen plastered from campaign signs and stickers, shouting "We still believe!"



Todd Bookman for NHPR

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.


Photo by Gage Skidmore via Flickr

Everybody is calling the race for Mitt Romney - the question now is by how much?   The mood upstairs reflects  his likely victory; supporters are dancing enthusiastically and waving campaign signs.  They're packed shoulder to shoulder in what is probably a very warm and sweaty room...  Nice and cool down here in the media room.

Kevin Flynn for NHPR.

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.  

Todd Bookman for NHPR

Greg Carson, secretary of the N.H. Republican Party, is running out of steam. After a week of non-stop events, Carson said he is looking forward to tomorrow morning.

"I can't wait." 

The secretary isn't endorsing any candidate, but believes that having a large pool of choices is good for New Hampshire voters.

"The only bad thing is that the current mix of candidates is going to lead to some internal fighting," he says. 

Carson's wife, State Sen. Sharon Carson, has endorsed Mitt Romney.



Reporter Dan Gorenstein working his way through the scrum of reporters and supporters at the Black Brimmer in Manchester. 

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.   

Taylor Quimby for NHPR

A few dozen Romney supporters are chatting downstairs at Romney HQ after having been told by an apologetic staffer that the main event hall is filled to capacity.  Earlier tonight, a campaign staffer told the press that a SNHU scheduling conflict with FIRST Robotics is the cause of tonight's limited space.

(Phil Sletten for NHPR)

Ron Paul election night headquarters is full primarily of journalists, but that will change soon.  Paul supporters have filled the lobby outside the main event room.  The Paul staff was originally not going to open the doors until 8 PM, but they have decided to let the Paul supporters in earlier.

The Paul Campaign says that there are at least 40 journalism organizations here, ranging from familiar names like Fox News and NPR to far flung organizations, including  Suddeutsche Zeitung from the south of Germany.

Media Crush

Jan 10, 2012
Todd Bookman for NHPR

With less than an hour to go before polls close in New Hampshire, a huge crowd of reporters swarm Camp Gingrich. Flashbulbs and headphones are in the majority, as supporters are slowly starting to trickle in. 

(Ryan Lessard for NHPR)

The ominous Huntsman signs with their signature black background and big red "H" in vogue font are conspicuously absent this primary night. Instead, new posters with traditional red or blue colors are spread around the crowded Huntsman headquarters in downtown Manchester sporting the new slogan "Country First". The tagline is a reference to the way he has repeatedly defended himself for his service as Ambassador to China under the Obama administration, something his opponents hope to paint as tantamount to working for the enemy.

Taylor Quimby for NHPR

Political Reporter Josh Rogers listens in to NHPR's special coverage in the press area at Mitt Romney's HQ.

Kevin Flynn for NHPR.

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.

What's missing? The supporters.

(Phil Sletten for NHPR)

The floor of the election night headquarters of Texas Representative Ron Paul still has a lot of open space, but more people are entering the room each minute.  The Paul staff appears exhausted, and some young men sitting in front of the main stage do not look very animated. 

The Paul Camp has a very strong media contingent, with a phalanx of camera crews and journalists spread across the entire back of the mid-sized room.  Media crews from as far away as Denmark have gathered to cover Congressman Paul's address.

Ready To Swing

Jan 10, 2012
Todd Bookman for NHPR

Strike up the band! Team Gingrich has hired Boston-based Tuxedo Junction to entertain the former Speaker's fans here in Manchester. The six-piece band will be playing a broad mix of tunes. Expect a few swing songs if polls look good...a dirge or two if Newt doesn't finish in the top three.