Romney and Huntsman tie for first in midnight NH voting tradition

MANCHESTER, N.H. — Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman tied for the win in the tiny town of Dixville Notch, N.H.

All nine registered voters went to the polls at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday.

Romney and Huntsman each got two votes, while Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul got one apiece.

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There were no votes for Rick Santorum or Rick Perry.

President Obama got three votes but had no competition in the Democratic primary.

Midnight voting is a tradition in the tiny, unincorporated town near the border with Canada. They begin as soon as the clock turns over to the primary day and it usually takes less than a minute for residents to cast their ballot.

Naturally, there is no guarantee their winner will go on to win the state's primary.

Voting in Dixville Notch began in 1964, according to a fact sheet provided by the Balsams Grand Resort, which is where the voting takes place.

Looking back at their voting history in the Republican primary, there was only two instances — in 1964 and 1996 — in which their pick didn't match up with the winner on the state level. In '64 the town picked Richard Nixon over eventual winner Barry Goldwater, and in '96 they voted for Bob Dole over eventual winner Pat Buchanan.

Fans of NBC's "The West Wing" will recognize the tradition from the episode "Hartsfield's Landing," which was based on the happenings at Dixville Notch.

Romney had joked Monday that he couldn't take another night like last week's Iowa caucuses, where he won by only an 8-vote margin.

"Right now what I'm worried about is winning in New Hampshire and hopefully having a margin larger than in Iowa. I can't handle another night like that," he said.