Well, the people of the Granite State, New Hampshire have spoken and for the Republicans, it was a good win for Mitt Romney.
As the results show, Mr. Romney won almost every county in the state. OK, there are only 10 counties. But winning nine out of 10 counties is rather amazing. And considering Mr. Romney did so only winning 39% of the statewide vote. The only county to fall out of the Romney victory is the northern county of Coos county which looks like it is going to go with, gulp, Crazy Uncle Ron Paul.
So what is behind the numbers?
Mr. Romney seems to have swept all the major categories. And that does bode well as he begins to take the campaign to the next state, South Carolina.
Crazy Uncle Ron Paul may have peaked by getting about 23% of the votes in this open primary. As the primary season continues, many of the states are closed but to Republicans. Thus, all the independents and Democrats that voted for Crazy Uncle Ron will find it harder to pump up his numbers.
Jon Huntsman, Jr. What is to say about this guy? He lives in this state for the election season, eschewing the Iowa caucus and comes up with. . .17% of the vote?! I mean, with the Boston Globe endorsement, doncha think he could have at least gotten, oh I don't know, at least 20% of the vote?!
So there is a battle for fourth place and that is between Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum.
At this writing, both are coming in at about nine percent each. Mr. Gingrich is in fourth in five of the ten counties as is Mr. Santorum.
Now they are tied, but I think that Mr. Santorum is helped much more than Mr. Gingrich. If you look at the chart at the link, Mr. Santorum went from being on life support to almost 10% of the vote. Mr. Gingrich went from being second and seemingly a real threat to Mr. Romney to crashing trying to win double-digit numbers.
Rick Perry? Yup, he chose to make his stand in South Carolina and skipped New Hampshire.
Here is a clue.
Whenever a candidate does not make at least a token effort everywhere, that campaign is on life support. And Mr. Perry and Mr. Gingrich are there. On life support.
So, what should happen from here?
If he were smart, and I don't think he is, Mr. Perry would drop out and support Mr. Santorum.
Mr. Gingrich needs to look at the landscape and wonder, where can he make a stand. And it does not look good for him as South Carolina looks bleak and so does the next state, Florida. He may have to make a decision soon as well. And maybe before next week's primary in South Carolina.
Mr. Huntsman, Jr. should let his ego go and leave the race. Again, he will not because he thinks he is just, well so above it all. So cool.
That leaves Mr. Santorum.
And for me, this is where I believe the race comes down to.
Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum.
The above mentioned are already also-rans.
Mr. Santorum must do a strong second place finish in South Carolina. And he will be up against Gov. Nikki Haley and possibly Sen. Jim DeMint. Sen. DeMint supported Mr. Romney in 2008. And while he is not formally endorsing anyone, I do not doubt that he does pretty much support Mr. Romney. But Mr. Santorum is tough, smart and gets that Mr. Romney is not the enemy.
If he remains competitive to the end, Mr. Romney could look to Mr. Santorum as his running mate. And I would love to see Mr. Santorum debate Vice-President Plugs, er Biden.
And this race for the Republican nomination may have gone into the race for second place, literally, in a quick couple of weeks.
That is what will be important about the New Hampshire Republican primary results for 2012.