Trump wins New Hampshire
© Getty Images

MANCHESTER, N.H. — Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpFlynn to campaign for Montana GOP Senate candidate Trump considering pardon for boxing legend after call from Sylvester Stallone Decline in EPA enforcement won't keep climate bill from coming MORE romped over a fractured field of Republican presidential candidates at the New Hampshire primary on Tuesday, securing a critical first win for the political novice.

All major cable news networks and The Associated Press all immediately declared Trump the victor as soon as polls closed at 8 p.m.

Second place was too close to call as votes were still being tabulated Tuesday evening.

Trump entered Tuesday the heavy favorite, but he badly needed to prove he could turn the energy surrounding his campaign into hard votes and a victory.

The billionaire businessman didn’t take anything for granted, plunging into the retail-style politics he’s largely dismissed and deploying his celebrity family members across the state on Tuesday to stake out polling precincts and local businesses.

Trump appeared weakened after a disappointing second-place showing at the Iowa caucuses last week. He entered with a comfortable lead in polls, but fell short to Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzCruz's Dem challenger slams Time piece praising Trump Race for Republican Speaker rare chance to unify party for election 32 male senators back Senate women's calls to change harassment rules MORE (R-Texas) and was nearly caught by Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioStudents gather outside White House after walkout to protest gun violence Overnight Energy: Senate confirms Bridenstine as NASA chief | Watchdog probes Pruitt’s use of security detail | Emails shine light on EPA science policy changes Senate confirms Trump’s pick to lead NASA MORE (R-Fla.).

The showing opened Trump up to criticism that he lacks the resources and political savvy to deliver on his polling numbers, and left some wondering whether voters were suffering from Trump fatigue.

His win in New Hampshire should put those questions to bed — at least until the Republican primary in South Carolina on Feb. 20.

Early surveys show Trump with a double-digit lead over the next closest contender in the Palmetto State, although the GOP field is likely to shrink after New Hampshire and the polls are expected to tighten.

- Updated at 8:17 p.m.