By Colleen Shaughnessy–1/10/2012

Ron Paul can taste a comeback.

“He [Romney] certainly had a clear-cut victory, but we’re nibbling at his heels,” said Paul during his election night party in Manchester, New Hampshire.

The Texas Congressman exceeded polling predictions and came in second place in the first-in-the-nation primary. Paul’s last minute surge narrowed the landslide victory for expected frontrunner Mitt Romney, who won the New Hampshire Primary with 39% of the vote. Paul received 23% of the Granite State votes.

After walking on stage to Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down,” the seventy-six year old GOP candidate thanked his supporters and his young following.

“Freedom is a wonderful idea,” Paul said. “I really get excited when I see young people saying it is a wonderful idea. Freedom is popular.”

Ten percent of registered Republican New Hampshire residents are under 30, according to a Public Polling Policy report. Half of those residents who went to the polls today voted for Paul, according to an early analysis by the Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning & Engagement. This is an example of Paul’s strong following of 18-29 year old voters.

“The most important thing to me is that a politician follows the Constitution,” said Emily O’Neill, 26. “A lot of times, they support legislation that’s contradictory. For example, if they support the Patriot Act, the National Defense Authorization Act or if they don’t allow the free market to function, I think those things are actually not patriotic at all.”

Paul is charging on to South Carolina. For now, he said he is bypassing the Florida primaries because of advertising and campaigning costs.

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