11 Jan 2012

Romney claims victory in New Hampshire primary

7:13 pm on 11 January 2012

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has taken another stride towards his party's nomination after a solid victory in New Hampshire's primary.

The former Massachusetts governor was home and dry on nearly 40% of the vote, with most results counted on Tuesday, the BBC reports.

Texas Congressman Ron Paul was second on about 23% and former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman third with almost 17%.

The eventual Republican nominee will take on President Barack Obama for the White House in an election on 6 November this year.

Nearly-complete results from Tuesday's New Hampshire vote showed Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich tussling for fourth place with less than 10% each, while Rick Perry had under 1% of the vote.

All six contenders have vowed to fight on to the primary in South Carolina on 21 January.

In his first presidential run in 2008, Mr Romney finished second in New Hampshire to John McCain, who ultimately won the nomination. This time, he campaigned with Mr McCain's endorsement.

Last week, Mr Romney narrowly won in Iowa, beating Christian conservative Rick Santorum by just eight votes.

Primaries and caucuses will take place in every US state over the next few months to pick a Republican nominee before the eventual winner is crowned at the party convention in August.

A primary is a state-wide election to nominate a party's candidate, while under the caucus system, party members and activists hold meetings to decide their preference, which is represented by a delegate to county and state conventions.