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Rick Santorum wrapped up his campaigning in New Hampshire Monday with a shell-shocked state of mind in a state that took a close look at him and didn’t like what it saw.
Santorum’s hopes of continuing the momentum from his near-upset of GOP frontrunner Mitt Romney in Iowa last week ran head-on into political reality.
Some feel Jon Huntsman will be the new Santorum, the back bencher who rises from obscurity to contender. Whatever happens, it appears the Santorum bubble popped as soon as he landed in the Granite State.
“This isn’t Iowa. Rick Santorum doesn’t sell here,” New Hampshire GOP voter Barb Lowell tells Capitol Hill Blue.
Late polls show Romney at 40 percent — a 2-1 lead over second place Ron Paul while Santorum’s support puts him in 4th with 11 percent. Huntsman appears to be closing in on Paul and could capture second.
Political experts say ultra right-wing doesn’t play well in New Hampshire and a rabid conservative like Santorum never stood a chance — no matter how well he did in Iowa.
“This is a blue collar state but it is one where most people are working,” GOP strategist Hal Ostermann tells Capitol Hill Blue. “Tea Party issues don’t play well.”