Newt Gingrich edged Rick Santorum for 4th place in the New Hampshire Republican primary, nipping him by 49 votes, as the final tally came in as follows: Mitt Romney, 39 percent; Ron Paul, 23 percent; Jon Huntsman, 17 percent; Gingrich, 9 percent; Santorum, 9 percent; and Rick Perry, 1 percent. Romney won 7 delegates (and Paul 3 and Huntsman 2), leaving the GOP frontrunner just over 1,100 shy of the number needed to win the nomination.
There have been six Republican races (including this year) not involving an incumbent since the Iowa caucuses came into being, and this is the first of those six in which a single candidate has swept the first two states. So Romney clearly has a big leg up on the competition. On the other hand, Romney also broke Bob Dole’s record for the all-time lowest winning percentage (for either party) in the Iowa caucuses — 26 percent — which Bob Dole set in 1996. Romney won with a tally of 24.6 percent. Moreover, Romney joined John McCain in 2008 (37 percent), Pat Buchanan in 1996 (27 percent), George H.W. Bush in 1988 (38 percent), and Henry Cabot Lodge in 1964 (36 percent) as the only GOP winners in New Hampshire in the past 50 years who didn’t get at least 40 percent of the vote.
Now, on to South Carolina!
UPDATE: The Boston Globe is now reporting that the New Hampshire secretary of state says the order between Gingrich and Santorum has been reversed, with Santorum now prevailing by 138 votes.