The likes of Paul E. Tsongas, Bill Clinton, Bob Kerrey, Tom Harkin and Patrick J. Buchanan spent most of yesterday in New Hampshire chasing votes and waiting for results. Andre Marrou claimed victory.
Marrou, the official candidate of the Libertarian Party, carried tiny Dixville Notch, the northern New Hampshire town that traditonally votes first in the first-in-the-nation presidential primary.
Marrou received 11 of the town's 31 votes. There are 18 Republicans, four Democrats and nine registered independent voters.
"This was much better than we expected," said Marrou, a former Alaska legislator and the only presidential candidate to attend Dixville Notch's voting. "It will be the party of the 21st century."
President Bush received nine votes and conservative challenger Buchanan picked up three. Three Republicans wrote in consumer advocate Ralph Nader's name. Among Democrats, Clinton received three votes and Tsongas got two, one of them coming from a Republican who wrote in his name.
All 31 of Dixville Notch's registered voters cast ballots between 12:01 a.m., when the polls opened on Tuesday, and 12:06, when they closed.
The town gets its singular moment of glory because it is allowed under state law to vote early if all registered voters are able to cast their ballots. The rest of the state voted between 6 a.m. and 8 p.m. yesterday, with closing times varying from town to town.
Polling places throughout the state were busy on an unseasonably warm day, with election officials predicting turnout of perhaps 60 percent, wire services reported. Many voters found presidential candidates waiting to greet them, hoping one last handshake would translate into one more vote.
"It's always a risk," Kerrey joked outside a Manchester precinct. "I could always be talking them out of it."
But there are also other kinds of risks.
As Kerrey was trying to sway a few voters, retiree Henry Daneau came along and asked the Nebraska senator to watch his golden retriever while Daneau voted, he said, for Kerrey.
The candidate obliged, and Daneau had barely left when the dog vomited at Kerrey's feet.
Buchanan, who spent some time yesterday shaking hands outside a Concord polling place, said, "I'm extremely confident." Referring to the upcoming primary in Georgia on March 3 and the 11 "Super Tuesday" primaries and caucuses on March 10, he said, "We're going into Georgia and Super Tuesday with enormous steam."
Back in Washington, Bush was asked if he wished he had spent more than four days in New Hampshire countering Buchanan. He answered simply, "No."
The president told reporters, "I think I'm going to win . . . . I feel very confident. I had a good campaign. We've had wonderful support."