UPDATE: Romney wins New Hampshire primary - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

UPDATE: Romney wins New Hampshire primary

NEW HAMPSHIRE (AP) -- Here are your results with 287 of 301 precincts (95 percent) reporting:

x-Mitt Romney, 95,669 - 39 percent

Ron Paul, 55,455 - 23 percent

Jon Huntsman, 40,903 - 17 percent

Newt Gingrich, 22,921 - 9 percent

Rick Santorum, 22,708 - 9 percent

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WASHINGTON (AP) -- Conservatives, moderates, liberals -- nearly across the board, according to exit polls, Mitt Romney has performed better than he did in Iowa among a broad spectrum of Republican voters.

In New Hampshire, he had the backing of 42 percent of those who said they were conservatives. That's more than twice the share that was captured by his nearest rival, Ron Paul. He had a similar backing from tea party supporters.

As for moderates and liberals in New Hampshire, nearly 4 in 10 who voted in the GOP primary supported him.

The numbers didn't look as good for two candidates trying to establish themselves as more conservative than Romney. Just 15 percent of conservatives backed Rick Santorum, while Newt Gingrich had the support of just 13 percent.

Just over half the voters named Romney as the GOP contender with the best shot at victory in November. And about 6 in 10 said they'd be satisfied with him as the nominee. Majorities said they would be unhappy with Paul, Santorum or Gingrich.

Paul was the strong choice among voters who said they were looking for a true conservative and a candidate with strong moral character.

Jon Huntsman, meanwhile, did best among those who said they were opposed to the tea party.

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CONCORD, N.H. (AP) -- Neither of them finished in the top three in New Hampshire, but Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum both say their campaigns will continue.

As the vote totals showed the two of them battling for fourth place -- trailing Mitt Romney, Ron Paul and Jon Huntsman -- both Gingrich and Santorum were looking ahead.

Gingrich urged his supporters not to "slow down." He said he will be campaigning in South Carolina tomorrow on issues including jobs, national security and returning power to the states.

The former House speaker again said the party needs someone who can debate and defeat President Barack Obama.

As for Santorum, he says he's moving on to South Carolina, not deterred by what he called "temporary setbacks." And he said the party still needs to nominate what he calls the "true conservative."

Santorum has said he didn't have time in New Hampshire to build on the momentum from his near-dead-heat with Romney in Iowa.

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CONCORD, N.H. (AP) -- Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has won the New Hampshire Republican primary.

Romney is the first Republican to win both the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary in a competitive race since Iowa took the leadoff role in 1976.

The Associated Press called the race around 7 p.m. CST.

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WASHINGTON (AP) -- With 7 percent of New Hampshire's precincts reporting, Mitt Romney leads the GOP's presidential nomination fight with 36 percent of the vote.

He's followed by Texas congressman Ron Paul with 25 percent and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman with 15 percent.

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They're not counting on a win -- but Mitt Romney's five Republican opponents are hoping to finish well enough in Tuesday's New Hampshire primary to prove they're still in the race, so they can challenge him again in South Carolina and Florida.

They believe that a narrow-than-expected win for Romney will provide more evidence that Republicans still have doubts about him.

Jon Huntsman says if he can chug out of the New Hampshire primary "with a head of steam" he can prove he's the Republican candidate who can defeat Barack Obama. But on NBC's "Today" show, he wouldn't say whether he would leave the race if he doesn't finish in the top three.

The rivals yesterday pounced on Romney's comment that he likes to be able to "fire people."

But Tuesday, they've pulled back -- noting that he was talking about letting people change health insurance providers.

Rick Santorum says he's "not going to play gotcha politics." Newt Gingrich says it would be "totally unfair" to take Romney's remarks out of context.

Santorum, who finished in a virtual dead-heat in Iowa, says there hasn't been enough time to capitalize on that momentum before New Hampshire. Before shaking hands this morning outside a polling place in Manchester, he said he'd be content to pull a double-digit percentage of the votes.

Ron Paul has been running a strong second to Romney in New Hampshire for much of the year -- so third place may become a highly-coveted spot.

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 Voting has already begun in the nation's first primary, happening just after midnight Tuesday in the tiny town of Dixville Notch, New Hampshire.

The votes have been counted in Dixville Notch, the New Hampshire village known for casting the first ballots in the nation's first presidential primary.

Six Republican ballots were cast: Jon Huntsman and Mitt Romney tied with two votes each.

Jeff McIver, Dixville Notch voter, said, "I'm very happy with the results, very close, very close elections.

Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney leads in one recent poll by 24 points, but on Monday, made some of his biggest slips on the campaign trail.

Romney said, "I like being able to fire people who provide service to me."

Romney was trying to make the case that Americans should be able to chose their own health insurance to drop a company if they like, but his opponents jumped all over the remark.

Jon Huntsman said, "Governor Romney enjoys firing people, I enjoy creating jobs."

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