MANCHESTER. N.H (Reuters) - Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney took a comfortable lead in early returns in the New Hampshire Republican presidential primary, with congressman Ron Paul in second place, television networks said on Tuesday.

The primary in New Hampshire, a small northeastern state that often plays an outsized role in presidential campaigns, is the second contest in the state-by-state battle for the Republican nomination to face Democratic President Barack Obama on November 6. Romney narrowly won the first contest, the Iowa caucuses, on January 3.

About 10 percent of the results had been counted.

(Reporting By Alistair Bell and Deborah Charles; Editing by Will Dunham)