MANCHESTER, N.H. — Donald TrumpDonald TrumpTrump: 'I'm considering' going after Clintons' marriage Ivanka Trump stars in first campaign ad for her father Clinton camp on Trump cameo in Playboy film: 'a strange turn of events' 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.
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 CruzTed CruzJudge rejects attempt to stop internet oversight transfer Tech groups file court brief opposing internet transition suit Cruz criticizes federal law enforcement on terrorism MORE (R-Texas) and was nearly caught by Sen. Marco RubioMarco RubioRubio, Heck help out at car crash scene Florida paper endorses Clinton, writes separate piece on why not Trump GOP lawmakers slam secret agreement to help lift Iran bank sanctions 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.