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New Hampshire primary results: Mitt Romney wins (+video)

New Hampshire's primary results in a win for Mitt Romney.  Romney received 35 percent of the votes and became the first Republican to sweep the first two contests in competitive races since 1976.

By DAVID ESPO & STEVE PEOPLESAssociated Press / January 10, 2012

New Hampshire primary results: Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney is surrounded by his wife Ann and their sons as he addresses supporters at his New Hampshire primary night rally in Manchester, New Hampshire, Tuesday.

Jim Bourg/Reuters

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Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney won the New Hampshire primary Tuesday night, adding to a first-place finish in last week's Iowa caucuses and establishing himself as the man to beat for the Republican presidential nomination. Ron Paul finished second, with Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum trailing.

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"Tonight we made history," Romney told cheering supporters.

With his victory, Romney became the first Republican to sweep the first two contests in competitive races since Iowa gained the lead-off spot in presidential campaigns in 1976.

Returns from the first 21 percent of New Hampshire precincts showed Romney with 35 percent of the vote, followed by Paul with 25 percent, Huntsman 17 percent and former House Speaker Gingrich and former Pennsylvania Sen. Santorum with 10 percent each.

Romney battled not only his rivals but also high expectations as the ballots were counted, particularly since his pursuers had virtually conceded New Hampshire and were already pointing to the South Carolina primary on Jan. 21 as the place to block his rise.

"Tonight we celebrate," Romney told his supporters. "Tomorrow we go back to work."

Candidates and political action committees aligned with them were reserving enormous amounts of television time for the first-in-the-South primary in little more than a week.

Unlike Iowa and New Hampshire, where unemployment was well below the national average, joblessness is far higher in South Carolina. That creates a different political environment for Romney, campaigning as a former businessman who is knowledgeable about creating jobs, as well as the rivals who have been attacking him as a corporate raider.

Seeking to undercut Romney's victory, Gingrich and others sere suggesting that anything below 40 percent or so would indicate weakness by the nomination front-runner.

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