Mitt Romney rolled to victory in the New Hampshire primary Tuesday, becoming the first GOP candidate since 1976 to win the Iowa caucuses and N.H. back-to-back.
“Tonight we celebrate. Tomorrow we go back to work,” said Romney, who turned back a ferocious assault from his GOP rivals in recent days to win fairly handily.
In accepting victory, he delivered a pointed message to his opponents, urging them not to play into President Obama’s hands by trying to destroy his candidacy.
“In the last few days, we have seen some desperate Republicans join forces with him,” Romney said. “This is such a mistake for our party and for our nation.”
“This country already has a leader who divides us with the bitter politics of envy.”
Congressman Ron Paul of Texas came in second place, with approximately 24 percent of the Granite State vote to Romney’s 36 percent as of this posting.
Former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman is third, around 17 percent, with Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich tied for fourth, struggling to crack double digits.
Romney leads Ron Paul in nine of the state’s 10 counties, with Paul second in each of those and ahead in the 10th. A little over half the votes have been tallied.
The contest now moves to South Carolina January 21. The Palmetto State is considered less welcoming terrain for Romney, though he still leads in polls.
Final N.H. primary results to come after all precincts report.