The New Hampshire primary lived up to tradition and winnowed a large field of candidates by another two: Chris Christie and Carly Fiorina.
The Republican presidential hopefuls quit the race Wednesday after disappointing finishes in the first-in-the-nation primary.
Christie finished sixth with 21,081 votes. Fiorina placed seventh with 11,774.
Christie said in a Facebook post Wednesday evening that he was leaving the race “without an ounce of regret.”
Donald Trump, who won in convincing fashion, was not the only force the two had to overcome.
Ohio Gov. John Kasich achieved a strong second place. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz captured third, just ahead of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio came in fifth.
“It illustrates how the size of the Republican field hurt the non-Trump candidates,” said Chris Galdieri, a political science professor at St. Anselm College.
When the primary dust settled and Trump’s runaway victory was clear, Galdieri referred to his campaign as a “Death Star” in its ability to shake up the GOP race.
One could hear the sadness, maybe even shell-shock, in Christie’s voice when he addressed his New Hampshire supporters Tuesday night.
Wayne MacDonald, Christie’s state chairman, attributed some of the loss to the large field of candidates and a deluge of attack ads. He pointed to one negative mailer, paid for by a super PAC supporting Rubio, that referred to Christie as President Barack Obama’s favorite Republican governor.
And the hits just kept coming, blunting the progress Christie made in his regular “Telling It Like It Is” town hall meetings around the state.
“We’re really proud of the campaign we’ve run,” MacDonald said.
Fiorina also barnstormed the state. She always had one of the busiest campaign schedules, and won over an array of well-known Republicans.
“Election after election, the same empty promises are made and the same poll-tested stump speeches are given, but nothing changes,” Fiorina said in a statement Wednesday. “I’ve said throughout this campaign that I will not sit down and be quiet. I’m not going to start now. While I suspend my candidacy today, I will continue to travel this country and fight for those Americans who refuse to settle for the way things are and a status quo that no longer works for them.”
As primary night wore on, Trump’s lead only grew. The Secretary of State’s Office, in results not yet certified, reports Trump in a landslide with 100,099 votes. Kasich had 44,878.
The next three Republicans were within about a 3,000-vote spread: Cruz with 33,201, Bush with 31,341, and Rubio with 29,991.
Dr. Ben Carson received 6,503 votes. Rand Paul, Mike Huckabee, and Rick Santorum, though they quit the race a week ago, received 1,931, 216, and 170 votes, respectively.
Former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore earned 202 votes, and Manchester’s own Andy Martin, 202 votes.
Trump’s margin of victory was astounding in some Rockingham County towns. In Derry, he notched 2,802 votes, with Cruz next up with 798.
In Londonderry, he had 2,297 with Kasich the closest with 864. In Seabrook, he had 917 to Bush’s 189.
He beat Kasich by more than 2-to-1 in Hampton.
That said, Trump won with the smallest sliver of the electorate in 20 years, ending with about 35 percent of Republican voters. In the history of the modern Republican primary, only Pat Buchanan won the state with a smaller percentage of voters, about 27 percent.
In his victory speech, Trump offered nice words for his Republican opponents before quickly adding that the nominating fight would continue, “boom-boom-boom.”
Trump repeated his line that he would be the greatest jobs President that God ever made. He touched upon some familiar themes, including rebuilding the military, building a wall along the Mexican border, and doing away with both Common Core and “Obamacare.”
Besides Kasich, Cruz was the candidate who surged and overcame expectations, thanks in part to a more united front of liberty Republicans, with Rand Paul out of the race.
Cruz, at his primary party at the Alpine Grove in Hollis, said he had achieved what people were saying was the impossible.
“We are seeing the old Reagan coalition coming together,” said Cruz. “If we are going to win, we have to welcome home the Reagan Democrats.”
Union Leader Correspondent Kim Houghton contributed to this report.
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