Anatomy of a Third-Place Party

A look inside Jon Huntsman's bash in NH

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It's fair to say from the time the doors opened at the Black Brimmer Bar and Grille on Elm Street in downtown Manchester, N.H. for former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman's primary party, the media outnumbered the supporters and volunteers until the event wound down around 9:40 p.m. For a time, campaign staff began limiting entry of more media to only local and national press. Who does that leave out? The international media. But don't worry - already inside were correspondents from countries such as Sweden, France and Australia, among others.

Other attendees in the medium-sized bar, which was packed with risers and video equipment were local gawkers, just taking in the scene.

Steve Brophy of Manchester called the primary exciting and said it motivated him to be more involved in the fall election. [Read the U.S. News debate: Will Mitt Romney Be the GOP Presidential Nominee?]

"It's a unique opportunity here in New Hampshire to affect the outcome," he said. "We're not really political, but we're values-driven."

The gathered crowd - those that weren't media - skewed fairly young, likely college-age campaign volunteers. As the results rolled in, displayed on the many flat-screen televisions set to different cable news channels, not many paid attention. [See U.S. News Weekly, now available on iPad]

Around 8:30, after the race has been called for former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney,, the event had the air of a cocktail party or networking event. The music, which had been a sort of big band/jazz blend, was no longer playing and the group appeared neither somber nor engaged in the rest of the night's events.

[See pictures: New Hampshire Heads to the Polls.]

Just before 9 p.m., someone must have remembered it was a political event and small Huntsman signs were distributed to those who were willing to take them. A volunteer handing out red, white, and blue pom-poms who couldn't find any "regular people" to take them, tried pushing them on reporters. There were a couple lack-luster attempts at getting the crowd to chant "country first," but to no avail.

Huntsman himself took the stage with his family, which finally fired up the crowd, and they cheered his pledge to stay in the race.

Then Confetti guns fired,and everyone left.

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