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Mitt Romney claims comfortable victory in New Hampshire primary

In photos: The race for the Republican Party nomination rolls on…

Mitt Romney greets supporters at last night's primary.
Mitt Romney greets supporters at last night's primary.
Image: Elise Amendola/AP/Press Association Images

MITT ROMNEY is celebrating after winning the Republican Party’s New Hampshire primary last night with a comfortable 39 per cent of the vote.

In a statement posted to his campaign site last night, the former governor of Massachusetts said: “Tonight, we celebrate.  Tomorrow, we go back to work.”

As with his victory speech after last week’s Iowa caucus, Romney focused on the campaign against President Obama rather than against his Republican rivals, criticising ‘Obamacare’, raising the national debt and “job-killing regulations”.

Romney’s 39 per cent win (which is 95,666 votes with 95 per cent of the votes tallied) puts him as the clear front-runner in the push for the Republican nomination for November’s presidential election.

Mitt Romney claims comfortable victory in New Hampshire primary
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  • New Hampshire Primary

    Rep Ron Paul supporter Melina Brajovic calls out to voters driving into a polling station during the first-in-the-nation presidential primary, at Hilltop Middle School in Manchester, New Hampshire. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke/PA Images)
  • New Hampshire Primary

    JB Webb, of Manchester, NH, carries a sign to the Webster School yesterday, where primary voting was taking place. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci/PA Images)
  • New Hampshire Primary

  • New Hampshire Primary

    Ballot inspector Connie Bell holds open a curtain on a voting booth during voting in the NH presidential primary at Memorial High School in Manchester. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke/PA Images)
  • New Hampshire Primary

    Donna Kaye Erwin looks at the ballot totals at The Balsams Grand Resort, yesterday in Dixville, NH. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke/PA Images)
  • New Hampshire Primary

    Voters bring their dogs on primary election day at a polling station at in Manchester, NH. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak/PA Images)

Ron Paul came in second with 23 per cent of the vote and said that although Romney had a clear-cut victory, Paul’s campaign was “nibbling at his heels”.

Jon Huntsman came third with 17 per cent, while Newt Gingrich came in fourth at 9 per cent.

Rick Santorum - who took the second-place spot in Iowa – also took 9 per cent, while Rick Perry won just 1,709 votes (1 per cent), and Michele Bachmann had 343 votes. Perry’s campaign has been focusing on the South Carolina primary since his poor result in the Iowa caucus. Bachmann announced last week that she was calling a halt to her campaign.

Candidates need to get at least 10 per cent of the New Hampshire vote before being allocated state delegates who will support them in the nation-wide push for the Republican nomination.

A state-wide exit poll reported on MSNBC says that 54 per cent of those who voted were men, while 99 per cent of all voters polled said their race was white.

The 45-64 age group had the strongest showing in the polls, with almost half of all the GOP (as the Republican Party is known) primary voters falling into this group (48 per cent).

The next Republican Party primary is in South Carolina on 21 January.

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