2008-01-09 / Features

McCain Wins New Hampshire; Rudy An Also Ran

Repeating his victory of eight years ago, Arizona Senator John McCain appeared to have scored a victory over Mitt Romney in yesterday's Republican presidential primary, according to unofficial and incomplete returns. As polls across the state of New Hampshire closed and results began to come in, Fox News and CNN projected Arizona Senator John McCain as the winner of the Republican primary election.

Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney was projected to come in second and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, the winner of last week's Iowa GOP caucuses, ran third, followed by former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Texas Congressmember Ron Paul.

A McCain victory had been expected, since he overcame Romney's lead in Granite State polls, which extended back to late last year. McCain's persistent campaigning, including more than 100 town hall meetings, revitalized his chances and handed Romney his second defeat. Last week, he ran second to Huckabee in the Iowa caucuses, so in the two vote tests of the 2008 campaign, Romney, a millionaire, has failed to maintain the lead he held in Iowa and New Hampshire.

Much of McCain's support yesterday came from the state's large block of independent voters, which had backed him strongly in the 2000 race where he defeated George W. Bush in a primary upset.

Before yesterday's balloting, there were predictions that McCain would be battling Barack Obama, a Democratic candidate, for the independent vote. Independents can vote in either political party's primary, and many chose McCain yesterday, according to exit polls.

The two losses for Romney both in races where he started out as the favorite, leaves the former Massachusetts governor in a precarious position. Next up in the long primary cycle is Michigan next Tuesday, where 128 delegates are up for grabs.

Romney might finally win here, where his huge personal fortune could help immensely against both McCain and Huckabee, whose finances are meager. Romney has used his cash to build campaign organizations in the larger states, but if he loses Michigan, especially to McCain, it could be the end of the road for him.

- John Toscano

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