Manchester, New Hampshire — The rooms where the
candidates held their election-night parties tonight were a
reminder of how quickly the polls have moved. Reporters were warned
that Jon Huntsman’s campaign had booked the bar when their
candidate was fifth in the polls; his late boomlet meant the place
was packed like a can of sardines by the time the candidate spoke.
The Newt Gingrich campaign, by contrast, booked the ballroom at the
Radisson, presumably when their candidate was second in the polls
last month; there was plenty of room there tonight.
Gingrich is, as I write, less than a hundred votes ahead of
Santorum in the race for fourth place, with 80% of precincts
reporting. I must admit I’m slightly surprised; I expected Santorum
to be ahead. Maybe he will be by the time all the votes are in, but
the fact that it’s this close demonstrates something a local
journalist — who agreed with my assessment
that Santorum was stronger on the stump — told me about New
Hampshire: Santorum-style social conservatism just doesn’t play
very well here.
It doesn’t appear that anyone is going to drop out before South
Carolina, which is good news for Mitt Romney; with Ron Paul showing
limited but consistent staying power and the rest of the candidates
(other than Huntsman, whose declaration that “we go south from
here” is likely to be true in more ways than one) dividing the more
conventional anti-establishment conservative vote, it’s hard to see
how Romney doesn’t make it to the nomination from here.
About the Author
John Tabin is a frequent contributor to The American Spectator online.
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