PORTSMOUTH, NH – Mitt Romney celebrated his New Hampshire win with his sister wives and dozens of children.
Mitt Romney, a devout Mormon, swept to victory in the New Hampshire primary on Tuesday, turning back a ferocious assault from rivals who sought to disqualify him in the eyes of conservatives, in a contest that failed to anoint a strong opponent to slow his march to the Republican nomination.
Here’s Mitt Romney with his primary family:
Mr. Romney, a former governor of Massachusetts, won by a double-digit margin, a validation of his strategy to use his neighboring state to cement his standing as the front-runner. The candidates who had hoped to use the primary to emerge as his leading rival fared poorly, leaving a fractured Republican opposition.
“Tonight we celebrate. Tomorrow we go back to work,” said Mr. Romney, who strode into his victory party at Southern New Hampshire University less than 30 minutes after the final polls closed to present himself as the candidate to beat for the Republican nomination.
Another branch of the Romney family:
Mr. Romney had his entire Mormon family with him in New Hampshire. There are estimates that Romney has nine “wives” and over a hundred children. Those estimates were reportedly last tallied by Newt Gingrich.
Here’s Romney on stage with another one of his families:
Mitt Romney is on course to become the first Mormon to secure the nomination to run for the White House.
Supporters of the former governor of Massachusetts have dismissed claims that his religious beliefs could hamper his presidential ambitions. And the fact that Mr. Romney reportedly has “sister wives” doesn’t seem to affect voters.
Here’s yet another branch of the Romney family:
Mr Romney’s membership of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints has only briefly threatened to become an issue in the 2012 campaign.
Last year a pastor close to fellow candidate Rick Perry said Mr Romney was “not a Christian” and described Mormonism as a “cult”.
At the time Romneysaid: “The great majority of Americans understand that this nation was founded on the principle of religious tolerance and liberty. Most people do not make their decision based on someone’s faith.”
As if to prove his point Mr Romney went on to win in Iowa and he leads the polls in South Carolina, both places with large evangelical Christian populations which are often said to be suspicious of the Mormon religion.
Here’s Romney and his “lead wife” in their Mormon underwear:
Joanna Brooks, the writer behind the Ask Mormon Girl blog, told WWN: “During the general election campaign we will see increased scrutiny of the Mormon faith.
“Most Americans are unfamiliar with what Mormons believe, so this increased publicity will go a long way towards creating greater understanding.
“But I don’t think his Mormonism will work against Romney in the voting booth. Partisan divisions are far stronger in the US than antipathy towards Mormonism.”
Newt Gingrich agrees. “I think the fact that Mitt Romney has more children than the last 44 presidents, combined, will be a real deterrent to voters. Plus, which wife will be the First Lady,” a source close to Gingrich said.
Another Romney wife had a baby last night, just before the polls closed in New Hampshire:
Mr Romney often talks about the time he spent in France as a young man, completing two years of traditional Mormon missionary duty.
His father George, who was governor of Michigan, sought the Republican nomination in the 1968 campaign and little mention was made of his Mormon faith before he lost out to Richard Nixon.
Mitt Romney’s faith did crop up during his failed 2008 campaign when he was criticised by rival Mike Huckabee, a Baptist minister, but formerNew Hampshire senator Judd Gregg says things will be different this time.
“Americans have fully embraced Mormonism, it will not be a problem at all,” said a source close to Gregg.
Tim Tebow had no comment.