NBC News called the Democratic race for Clinton as the New York senator led Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois 39 percent to 36 percent with 66 percent of precincts reporting. Obama had been ahead in polls leading up to the election.
John Edwards of North Carolina was third with 17 percent and Bill Richardson of New Mexico had 5 percent.
"I'm past the age where I can use the word kid," McCain told supporters. "But tonight, we sure showed them what a real comeback looks like."
McCain, in a state he won in his unsuccessful 2000 presidential run, had 38 percent of the vote, followed by Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, at 32 percent, WMUR in Manchester, N.H., reported. Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor, had 11 percent, followed by former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani at 9 percent, Texas Congressman Ron Paul at 8 percent, and former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson and Congressman Duncan Hunter at 1 percent each.
Romney congratulated McCain and told his supporters that while he had posted another "silver," referring to his second-place finish in the Iowa caucuses, he would continue in the race for the White House.
"I believe it is time to send someone to Washington who will actually get the job done," Romney said.
New Hampshire voters were reported to have turned out in record numbers to kick off the presidential primary season.