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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Tune in all evening for our broadcast during this New Hampshire Primary. In the studio with Laura Knoy, NPR Political Junkie Ken Rudin, and Dante Scala from the University of New Hampshire's Carsey Institute.