Donald Trump's win in New Hampshire is a big story.

But, the real remaining drama in the New Hampshire Republican primary fight is for the second and third slots - positions that could be the difference between a candidate continuing on as a credible alternative in the race and being forced out.

The battle for the place and show spots is between five candidates at the moment: John Kasich, Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and Chris Christie.

Cruz, the Texas Senator who won the Iowa caucuses eight days ago, needs a top three finish least of all.

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Rubio would like a second or third place showing but can probably survive fourth and still make it to South Carolina to fight again.

But for Kasich, Bush and Christie, New Hampshire is the last stop saloon until they can find a way onto the podium.

Early returns look best for Kasich who appears to have carved out a small lead for second place over his rivals.

On the flip side, the results look worst for Christie who has devoted the entirety of his campaign to New Hampshire and, at least according to early vote totals, looks likely to come up short.

The pivot point may be with Bush and Rubio, the two Florida pols, the mentor and the mentee.

Bush, who has floundered for months in this race, badly needs to claim third or even second place in order to give himself some momentum (and some reason to be) going into South Carolina.