MANCHESTER, N.H. — An ecstatic Donald Trump exulted in his landslide New Hampshire Republican primary win last night, telling Granite State supporters their stunning rejection of the political establishment had boosted his campaign to “make America great again.”

“Oh, wow, wow, wow, wow. So beautiful, so beautiful,” Trump told supporters at the Executive Court Banquet Facility last night.

“We are going to start winning again,” Trump said. “And we’re going to win so much you are going to be so happy. We’re going to make America so great again — maybe greater than ever before.”

He told the cheering crowd, “You started it. Remember — you started it.”

Trump’s backers marveled over how far the flashy real-estate mogul with no political experience has come in a short time, and predicted it could lead to a domino effect in upcoming primaries.

“Quite an accomplishment for a first-time non-politician to actually win the New Hampshire primary,” said former Bay State U.S. Sen. Scott Brown, who endorsed Trump. “It sends a strong message to the upcoming states.”

Meanwhile, Trump couldn’t resist taking a shot at New Hampshire’s other big winner, Vermont U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders.

“He wants to give away our country, folks,” said Trump. “We’re not gonna let it happen.”

From the minute Trump hinted at a presidential bid, establishment New Hampshire Republicans dismissed him as a carnival act. But Trump’s first Granite State appearance — at state Rep. Stephen Stepanek’s home in Amherst last March — was packed with enthusiastic supporters. Even then, before he had formally declared his candidacy, Trump proclaimed, “The country is going to hell” and “we’re led by a bunch of fools” while vowing to build a wall on the Mexican border.

As his run gathered steam, Trump’s rallies drew thousands of supporters over the last few months — along with throngs of protesters who vehemently rejected his controversial plan to temporarily ban Muslims from entering the country.

Trump’s war on political correctness jumped to a new level at a recent event when he repeated a profanity that a supporter shouted out about Texas U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz’s lack of courage.

Trump needed a big win to erase a disappointing second-place finish to Cruz in the Iowa caucuses last week. Critics argued the loss tarnished the Trump brand, known for winning in style and not admitting defeat. But Trump rebounded by blaming Cruz — as recently as Monday night — for stealing votes from retired neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson. He also mercilessly blasted former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush for being a “spoiled child” whose campaign blew millions on a lackluster campaign to relying on his mother, former first lady Barbara Bush, to save his political operation.

Trump now must carry his new momentum to South Carolina and Nevada — the next two primary contests — while fending off what could be growing support for rivals as the field likely consolidates in the weeks ahead.

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(c)2016 the Boston Herald

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