By Katie O’Donnell–1/10/2012

Jon Huntsman has a ticket to ride…right down to South Carolina.

The former Utah governor’s dedication to campaigning in New Hampshire paid off tonight with a third place win. Supporters rallied with him and his family at the Black Brimmer in Manchester ready for the next challenge of South Carolina.

Huntsman walked onto the stage to chants of “country first” echoing off the walls. He asked his followers if they were ready to “go on a hunt?” They replied with roars of applause.

The former U.S. ambassador and his supporters are viewing this third place showing as a victory and a sign he can gain the numbers needed to win in the south.

“This guy is bridging the gap,” said Jim Balukjian from Greenville, Rhode Island.

Huntsman received 16.9% of the vote, putting him 7% ahead of Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum. Rick Perry only received 1% of the vote.

Even though he finished behind Mitt Romney and Ron Paul, Huntsman was enthusiastic about his finish. “Third place is a ticket to ride! Come on South Carolina!”

This is a big win for Huntsman since he had skipped the Iowa Caucus to concentrate on New Hampshire. South Carolina is hosting its primary on January 21st. Huntsman and other candidates will continue to push their messages in the coming weeks with the hope to upset Romney’s current sweep.

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