The Consolation Prize in New Hampshire
Candidates, who aren’t campaign-rich like Romney, look to carry runner-up momentum to South Carolina
Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney is more than likely today’s New Hampshire primary winner.
I know. What a boring spoiler! Romney’s 20-point lead in some state polls means the best hope for a candidate polling nearest to him is an impressive second place finish.
Former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman has staked the momentum of his entire campaign on how well he does in New Hampshire. While there are plenty of voters who are mildly impressed by him, Huntsman will have to do more than speak Mandarin in a couple of debates.
In the earliest voting on Tuesday – yes, a few tiny precincts in the northern part of the state cast ballots at midnight – Romney and Huntsman were tied with two votes each in one precinct. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Congressman Ron Paul of Texas each got one vote. The rest of the state's voters began casting ballots at 7 a.m.
Paul supporters are as fervent (read: ferocious) as ever, reportedly causing Gingrich’s people to cancel an appearance at his New Hampshire headquarters due to a security issue.
Paul and Huntsman are tied at second place in some state polls. Huntsman is likely to edge out Paul, if enough of the undecided voters haven’t surrendered to Romney and are repelled by Paul’s thin record of accomplishment.
Gingrich is in an interesting space, this time around. He’s got plenty of support indicating he doesn’t need to win or even place second in New Hampshire. He’ll move on to South Carolina. If his latest influx of cash from a wealthy donor is any indication, his campaign’s cruise through Super Tuesday in March has been booked and paid for.
Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum didn't skip New Hampshire, but didn't entertain a fantasy that he'd pull a sequel to Iowa. His campaign has moved on to South Carolina.
Texas Governor Rick Perry is skipping New Hampshire for South Carolina and, barring a miracle or frontrunner scandal, that’s essentially where his campaign will die. He’s polling near the bottom in South Carolina, which contradicts his campaign’s post-Iowa assertion that his staying in the race for South Carolina would be beneficial. *Kanye shrug*
Expect a mostly quiet day, unless Romney’s talk of pink slips and liking the ability to fire people catches wind.