Mitt Romney pulls ahead in New Hampshire race

Cruising to a sizable victory during the Jan. 10  New Hampshire primary two days after a victory in the Iowa caucus, Mitt Romney has all but solidified his position as the candidate to beat in the hunt for the Republican presidential nomination.

“Thank you, New Hampshire, tonight we made history!” Romney told supporters in a victory speech on the day of the vote, his wife and family standing by his side.

Romney made use of the moment to criticize current President Barack Obama on the economy and to put on a display of  patriotic fanfare.

“What defines us as Americans is our unwavering conviction that we know that (conditions) must be better and will be better,” he said.

The former Massachusetts governor finished first in the New Hampshire polling with 39.3 percent of the vote, ahead of fellow candidates Ron Paul (22.9 percent) and Jon Huntsman (16.9 percent), according to The Associated Press. Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, and Rick Perry made up the remaining active Republican candidates in the poll.

Romney mainly faced competition in this primary from libertarian candidate Ron Paul, with his notably fervent and young supporters, and Jon Huntsman, the former ambassador to China who skipped campaigning in Iowa to devote resources solely to competing in New Hampshire.

Romney, who owns a $4.3 million lakeside home in New Hampshire, was, in many ways, competing in his own backyard.

“I’m not surprised at all,” said Visiting Associate Professor of Political Science Robert Duncan about the primary results. “He was expected to win in New Hampshire. It looks like Romney has the clear path to get the nomination.”

Further speaking to that point were exit polls that showed 56 percent of New Hampshire primary voters, regardless of who they voted for, felt Mitt Romney was the GOP contender with the best shot to win in the general election, according to the Washington Post.

However, looking beyond the New Hampshire primary, Romney’s opponents and some analysts emphasize that the race for the party’s nomination isn’t over just yet.

“He keeps flip-flopping to suit the situation and his record sucks,” Duncan said of Romney. “He represents the moderate faction of the party.”

Duncan also notes that in comparison to New Hampshire, the upcoming Jan. 21 primary in South Carolina features a “much more socially conservative populace,” a demographic that aids the more right-leaning candidates of the race — in other words, everyone but Mitt Romney.

Recent polling done in South Carolina shows Newt Gingrich within five points of frontrunner Mitt Romney, with Ron Paul coming in third and Rick Santorum a close fourth, according to Public Policy Polling data from Jan. 10 – 11.

Nonetheless, it is hard to imagine a scenario where one candidate emerges from the rest of the pack to consolidate support and overtake the resourceful and well-funded Romney campaign.

“I don’t see anybody — Ron Paul, maybe — beating Romney … it’s most likely too late for anyone else to jump into the race,” stated Duncan.

Mitt Romney will have to take advantage of this momentum in order to seize his party’s nomination and face-off against President Barack Obama in a general election that could very well be a watershed moment in our nation’s history.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email