Although most precincts have yet to report in, the traditional media has already declared Mitt Romney the winner of the 2012 Republican primary in New Hampshire… and Romney has taken to the stage to deliver an arrogantly-worded victory speech filled with bold promises that he has no ability whatsoever to fulfill, along with a generous serving of scorn directed toward President Barack Obama.
As of 5:35 PM, Romney had around 35% of the vote, with Ron Paul in second place and Jon Huntsman in third. Iowa wunderkind Rick Santorum finished fifth, behind Newt Gingrich, who once again managed to come in fourth. Finishing last among the major candidates was Rick Perry, who had less than one percent of the vote.
Mitt Romney: 35.3% (15,121 votes)
Ron Paul: 25.0% (10,705 votes)
Jon Huntsman: 16.8% (7,194votes)
Newt Gingrich: 10.3% (4,410 votes)
Rick Santorum: 10.1 (4,342 votes)
Rick Perry: 0.7% (292 votes)
It’s worth noting that the total number of votes received by all the candidates is less than the population of a medium-sized city (like the City of Redmond). This election is being decided by a fairly small electorate.
The next nominating contest will be held a week from this Saturday in South Carolina. It will likely be Rick Perry’s last stand — if he doesn’t at least finish in the top three, he will be in a poor position to continue.
Very few delegates are at stake in the four January nominating contests (Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Florida), but it’s likely that the field will be significantly narrowed before the states with the most delegates at stake hold their caucuses and primaries, because presidential campaigns need money to run and money tends to dry up when a candidate is losing.