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Reports and reaction on N.H. primary

10:19 p.m. Globe’s lede story:

MANCHESTER, N.H. -- A week after his whisker-thin Iowa victory failed to quiet doubts about his candidacy, Mitt Romney won the New Hampshire primary by a decisive margin tonight and vaulted closer to the Republican nomination as the race turns toward a tough, new proving ground: socially conservative South Carolina.

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Romney was projected the winner by The Associated Press shortly after the final New Hampshire polling stations closed at 8 p.m. Ron Paul took second place, with Jon Huntsman, Newt Gingrich, and Rick Perry trailing, the AP said.

The crowd gathered at Romney’s victory party at Southern New Hampshire University erupted into cheers of “Mitt! Mitt! Mitt!” when a Fox News anchor announced on the screen that the network had called the race at 8 p.m.

In his victory speech to the cheering crowd, Romney turned his fire mainly on Democratic President Barack Obama, saying, “This president has run out of ideas; now he’s running out of excuses.”

He said Obama wants to “put free enterprise on trial. … I stand ready to lead us down a different path, where we’re lifted up by our desire to succeed, not dragged down by resentment of success.”

“He apologizes for America, and I will never apologize for the greatest nation in the history of the earth,” Romney said.

With 51 percent of precincts reporting, Romney led the race, with 37.3 percent of the votes, compared with 23.3 percent for Paul, 17.3 percent for Jon Huntsman, and 9.9 percent for Newt Gingrich. Rick Santorum garnered 9.8, while Rick Perry had less than 1 percent.

--Michael Levenson, Matt Viser and Martin Finucane, Globe Staff

10:11 p.m. Romney wins Exeter - where Huntsman started & ended NH race: Romney 1197 Huntsman 656

10:10 p.m. Via @globeglen In double-iconic moment, Gingrich links self not just to Reagan, but Margaret Thatcher

10:04 p.m Newt Gingrich: “This campaign is going to go on to South Carolina. And we’re going to offer the American people something very different.”

Gingrich said he will offer fundamental and dramatic change in Washington D.C.

9:56 p.m. Rick Santorum: “We are going to go on to South Carolina. For those who would like to think that this campaign would be over after just two states, states that have been the backyard and the home of a certain candidate...”

Santorum did congratulate Mitt Romney on his victory, but Santorum added, “We have an opportunity in this race to go out and be the true conservative.

“We can win this race,” Santorum said.

9:42 p.m. Meg Whitman, Hewlett Packard CEO who flew from Calif. for Romney party:“I’m just very excited, I think we’ve got a really good shot.”

9:35 p.m. Via @mviser Former MA Gov Bill Weld on Romney: “They’ve run a hugely disciplined and almost error free campaign, except for a phrase here and there.”

9:29 p.m Jon Huntsman: “I’d say third place is a ticket to ride ... Hello South Carolina!”

9:26 p.m. Via @GarrettQuinn “Don’t Stop Believing” Now playing at Ron Paul Party.

9:25 p.m. Ron Paul’s second-place finish tonight gives the Texas congressman -- who for years has been cast as a fringe, also-ran candidate -- much-needed momentum as the campaign heads south, first to South Carolina then Florida.

In a speech just after 9 p.m., Paul suggested his campaign is closing in on that of frontrunner Mitt Romney. “We’re nibbling at his heels,” he told a cheering crowd.

Just four years ago, Paul earned a fifth-place showing in this pivotal first-in-the-nation primary.

Tonight he was solidly in the upper tier of Republican candidates, vying to oust President Barack Obama from the White House.

--Bobby Caina Calvan

9:19 p.m.Via @jaketapper Santorum Election HQ rocking SuperTramp’s Logical Song

9:12 p.m. Via @shiraschoenberg Perry p

uts out statement: “The race for ‘conservative alternative’ to Mitt Romney remains wide open.” Says he “skipped” NH, despite 8 visits

9:10 p.m. Via @globeglen Ron Paul may never get more than 25 percent of the vote, but each week he will get 15 minutes on TV to talk about his agenda

9:07 p.m. Texas congressman Ron Paul has clinched second place in the Republican New Hampshire presidential primary, ahead of former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, according to the Associated Press.

Returns from 21 percent of New Hampshire precincts showed former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney with 35 percent of the vote, followed by Paul with 25 percent and Huntsman with 17 percent.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum trailed with 10 percent each.

9:04 p.m. Ron Paul: “We are dangerous to the status quo.”

9:01 p.m. Ron Paul: I want to thank the Union Leader for not endorsing me.

9 p.m. Ron Paul takes stage to chants of, “President Paul! President Paul!”

8:57 p.m. Text of Mitt Romney’s victory speech

8:54 p.m. With 29 percent of precincts reporting, Romney has 36 percent of the votes, compared with 24 percent for Ron Paul, and 17 percent for Jon Huntsman. Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum each had roughly 10 percent of the votes, while Rick Perry had 1 percent.

8:45 p.m. Via @mviser Romney testing out new lines in this speech, a version of what he was going to deliver last week in Iowa before it got too close to call

8:43 p.m. Ron Paul on CNN: “We’re the only ones really in the race with [Romney]”

8:41 p.m. Mitt Romney: Obama wants to “put free enterprise on trial. … I stand ready to lead us down a different path, where we’re lifted up by our desire to succeed, not dragged down by resentment of success.”

“He apologizes for America and I will never apologize for the greatest nation in the history of the earth,” Romney said.

With 12 percent of precincts reporting, Romney led the race, with 35.5 percent of the votes, compared with 24.4 percent for Ron Paul, 17.4 percent for Jon Huntsman, and 10.5 percent for Newt Gingrich. Rick Santorum garnered 9.7 percent, while Rick Perry had less than 1 percent.

8:38 p.m. Huntsman on CNN: There are “at least 3 tickets out of NH... We go south from here.”

8:36 p.m. Via @globeglen Romney feeling his oats with energetic delivery and enthusiastic crowd. Most of this speech, though, is standard stump speech.

8:35 p.m. Romney denounces attacks on his Bain years as the “bitter politics of envy” from Democrats and “desperate Republicans.”

8:34 p.m. Someone in Romney crowd cries out an old slogan: “Mitt happens!”

8:30 p.m. Mitt Romney: “The president has run out of ideas. Now he is running out of excuses.”

8:28 p.m. Mitt Romney: “The last three years have offered a lot of change, but they haven’t offered a lot of hope.”

8:24 p.m. Broadcast of Romney speech is playing - with the sound off - at Huntsman’s party

8:20 p.m. ABC News projects Mitt Romney 1st, Ron Paul 2nd, Jon Huntsman 3rd

8:18 p.m. Live video stream from Mitt Romney’s campaign headquarters in New Hampshire can be found here

8:15 p.m. Via @mviser Romney adviser Kent Lucken: “It’s terrific. It’s history. It’s a statement of confidence in him. The party has confidence in him.”

8:14 p.m. Via @mviser “Celebration” is on the speakers at Romney’s party, and he’s preparing to address the crowd by about 8:30

8:03 p.m. Mitt Romney appears poised for victory in New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation primary tonight, taking a strong early lead in the polls, despite a last-minute flurry of attacks from his opponents on his record as a venture capitalist.

CNN projected Romney the winner moments after the final polls closed in the state closed at 8 p.m.

Most polls had closed at 7 p.m., and Romney held a strong lead as those counts came in.

With 7 percent of precincts reporting, Romney led the race, with 35.9 percent of the votes, compared with 25.3 percent for Ron Paul, 15 percent for Jon Huntsman, and 11.1 percent for Newt Gingrich. Rick Santorum garned 10 percent, while Rick Perry had less than 1 percent.

--Michael Levenson and Matt Viser

8:01 p.m. The Associated Press calls the race for Mitt Romney.

8 p.m. All New Hampshire polls are now closed. CNN calls race for Mitt Romney. AP has not yet called the race.

7:56 p.m. Via @globecynthia Reporter in Globe the newsroom: “I love the primary music they play on TV. It makes it sound like they’re going to war.”

7:54 p.m. Mitt Romney took a strong early lead in New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation primary tonight, despite a last-minute flurry of attacks from his opponents on his record as a venture capitalist.

With 5 percent of precincts reporting, Romney led the race, with 36.2 percent of the votes, compared with 25.3 percent for Ron Paul, 14.7 percent for Jon Huntsman, and 11.3 percent for Newt Gingrich.

The first polls in the state began closing at 7 p.m. The final polls close at 8 p.m.

--Michael Levenson and Matt Viser, Globe Staff

7:38 p.m. In today’s Democratic Primary, President Obama had plenty of competition. The names of 14 candidates appeared on the ballot for the Democratic Party. The competition included Craig “Tax Freeze” Freis of Lake Elsinore, Calif.; Vermin Supreme of Rockport, Mass.; and Aldous C. Tyler of Madison, Wis.

No word yet on any results.

Outside one polling place, Obama supporters chanted “Four more years ... Obama” and backers of the Republicans vying to unseat him offered a clever retort in the pause after “Four more years.”

“Of spending” or “of taxes,” they roared back.

7:34 p.m. Playing the pundit and spinmeister hours before the polls closed today for the Republican presidential primary, Newt Gingrich said he was “hoping for third” place and then set a high bar for the frontrunner, Mitt Romney, claiming that if the former Massachusetts governor did not hit the “high 40s” in the percentage of votes, it would raise questions about his strength going forward.

Of course, the remarks to Gingrich outside a polling place at a school in Merrimack were entirely self-serving. Romney’s average showing in the past month was 41 percent shortly before the Iowa primary a week ago and fell to 37.5 percent, according to Real Clear Politics. The former House speaker went on about Romney’s second home here, his governorship of a neighboring state, and his frequent presence in the state since losing the GOP nomination four years ago to John McCain.

--Brian C. Mooney, Globe Staff

7:30 p.m. Rick Santorum worked the get-out-the-vote push to the last minute tonight, visiting polling places until 7 p.m.

The effort mirrored Santorum’s well-known campaigning style, restless and unrelenting, that has produced notable upsets over the years. As a never-elected 32-year-old lawyer, he won a US House seat against a seven-term incumbent in a heavily Democratic district in western Pennsylvania. He went on to unseat a Democratic senator in 1994 – a seat he lost in 2006 in a landslide when he came under criticism for support of the Iraq war and time spent out of his district.

--Sarah Schweitzer, Globe Staff

7:23 p.m. Earlier today, Mitt Romney was mobbed by supporters and the media as he stepped off his campaign bus at the Webster School in Manchester.

“Oh, I hope we do well,” Romney said. “I note that if we get double the number of vote margins that we had in Iowa, I’d feel terrific.”

7:18 p.m. CNN showing one place reporting its first results

6:42 p.m. From Matt Viser: First song to play at Romney headquarters tonight: “Good Vibrations” by the Beach Boys

6:33 p.m. From Glen Johnson @globeglen: Per Tagg Romney, Mitt, Ann and grandkids head for movies before primary results. Mix of Mission Impossible and Muppets.

6:20 p.m. New Hampshire Secretary of State William M. Gardner estimates that 250,000 ballots will be cast in the Republican Primary. Gardner predicts that another 75,000 ballots will be cast in the Democratic Primary.

6 p.m.: Welcome to live results from the New Hampshire Republican primary. The first polls close at 7 p.m., so some results could start rolling in soon. Follow Globe reporters on Twitter for real-time updates from election night parties in Manchester, N.H. or check here on BostonGlobe.com and Boston.com

Here is tonight’s lineup of Globe reporters:

-Matt Viser @mviser will be with Mitt Romney at Southern New Hampshire University in Manchester, N.H.

-Sarah Schweitzer @SarahSchweitzer will be with Rick Santorum at Derryfield Restaurant in Manchester, N.H.

-Bobby Caina Calvan @bobbycalvan with be with Ron Paul at Executive Court Manchester, N.H.

-Brian C. Mooney with be with Newt Gingrich at the Radisson Hotel on Elm St. in Manchester, N.H.

- Shira Schoenberg @shiraschoenberg with be with Jon Huntsman The Black Brimmer on Elm St. in Manchester, N.H.

At the Boston Globe’s headquarters in Dorchester, Mass., follow Glen Johnson @globeglen Michael Levenson @mlevenson Cynthia Needham @globecynthia

Follow me at @GlobeAndrewRyan

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