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Joyce Endee

Local voters divided between Romney, Paul

Criss McGee was one of the many Sanbornton volunteers manning the polls for the 2012 First in the Nation New Hampshire Primary election. McGee, shown here displaying a ballot for both the Republican and Democratic parties, came dressed to display her national pride as she assisted in the Democratic process for her town. (Donna Rhodes) (click for larger version)
January 11, 2012
REGION — It was an outcome that many had predicted, but that did not mean supporters of former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney were any less pleased with his victory in Tuesday's Republican Presidential Primary.

Romney pulled ahead to an early lead shortly after polls across the state closed Tuesday night and never looked back, coasting to the win with nearly 40 percent of the statewide vote. Former Texas Congressman Ron Paul placed second with 23 percent of the vote, followed by Jon Huntsman in third with 17 percent. As of press time Tuesday night, it was still unclear whether former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich or Pennsylvania Congressman Rick Santorum would claim fourth place heading into South Carolina's primary.

While the state, as a whole, threw its support overwhelmingly behind Romney, voters residing in the Winnisquam region were more divided on who they felt would fare best against incumbent President Barack Obama.

Voters in Belmont followed the statewide trend by showing support for Romney, who garnered 449 votes, followed by Paul with 335, Huntsman with 164, Santorum with 155, and Gingrich with 109. Rounding out the Republican field in Belmont were Rick Perry with 10 votes; Michele Bachmann (who withdrew from the race following a disappointing finish in the Iowa Caucus) with four votes; and Gary Johnson and Buddy Roemer, each with three votes.

In Northfield, Paul edged out Romney for the lead among the Republican candidates, with 269 votes cast in his favor vs. the 232 cast for Romney. John Huntsman came in a distant third with 157 votes, followed by Santorum with 92; Gingrich with 89; Perry with 19; Roemer with five; and Christopher Hill with two. Joe Story, Bachmann, Herman Cain (who suspended his campaign in December amid rumors of infidelity and sexual harassment), Randy Crow, and Johnson each received only one vote.

Romney once again led the pack in Sanbornton with 274 votes, trailed by Paul with 207, Huntsman with 94, and Gingrich with 66.

Tilton voters, however, favored Paul, who claimed 214 votes, followed by Romney with 182; Huntsman with 87; Santorum with 65; Gingrich with 60; Perry with 14; Bachmann with four; Roemer with three; and Mark Callahan with one.

Not surprisingly, Obama went unchallenged as the preferred candidate among Democrats, both statewide and locally, tallying 192 votes in Belmont, 148 in Northfield, 157 in Sanbornton, and 153 in Tilton. None of the remaining candidates on the Democratic ballot were able to climb out of single-digit territory.

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Martin Lord Osman
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