As Mitt Romney and his supporters filled the Southern New Hampshire University campus with cheers of approval Tuesday night, many state GOP officials said they were "puzzled" and upset at the former Massachusetts governor's early victory.
Jack Kimball, the former head of the state GOP, said he was "not surprised" at the win, although he said that didn't stop the timing of the outcome — declared at 8 p.m. with only 9 percent of the precincts reporting — and the outcome itself from being a "disappointment."
"It's not a healthy victory," said Kimball, a Newt Gingrich supporter. "There's still room here. Romney may have won here tonight, but it's not a healthy victory. He really didn't close a deal here yet.
"If Mitt comes out with only a 10-point win, it's not that substantial. There's still some wiggle room now."
Jerry DeLemus, chairman of the Granite State Patriots Liberty PAC, a tea party group, also said he wasn't pleased with the Romney win, even if he saw it coming.
"I'm not surprised," said DeLemus, a Rick Santorum supporter. "New Hampshire is not a socially-conservative state... He's been running since the '90s, so he's got great name recognition."
DeLemus said it was difficult to listen to Romney's "insincere comments" during the primary victory speech because he said many of his remarks about "America and all that" don't hold much water because Romney snubbed Granite State tea party groups over the last year and DeLemus said he felt the candidate ignored their views.
Chris Buck, an active Republican leader from Dover and a Buddy Roemer campaign coordinator, was also shocked at the quick victory announcement, although he disagreed that Romney's margin of victory gives hope for his opponents.
"I'm a little disappointed it wasn't a lower percentage because that would've left the door open for other candidates to come in and help drag the race out longer," said Buck. "That would've benefited all of the other candidates like Gingrich, Santorum and Roemer."
He said Romney taking polling percentages in the high 30s vastly reduced the chances for the other candidates, as he said he does "not see it possible" for a "coalition of greater than 40 percent" of remaining GOP voters selecting an "alternative to Romney."
What do you think? Were you happy or disappointed with the quick victory announcement? Tell us in the comments!