In a significant development leading up to the presidential race, Donald Trump emerged victorious in the crucial New Hampshire primary on Tuesday, inching closer to securing the Republican nomination and setting the stage for a potential rematch with Joe Biden.
As vote counting continued, it remained uncertain whether Trump had secured a decisive victory that would eliminate his sole remaining rival, Nikki Haley, from the contest.
Addressing supporters after the vote, the former UN ambassador under Trump’s presidency emphasized that the race was “far from over” and warned that Democrats preferred to face her former boss in the election, claiming, “They know Trump is the only Republican in the country who Joe Biden can defeat.”
Despite high expectations for a major upset in the northeastern state, initial tallies led to broadcasters projecting Haley’s defeat swiftly.
Already a frontrunner in national Republican polling, Trump, facing two impeachments and legal challenges, maintained a strong position. Haley, who criticized the 77-year-old’s mental fitness and warned of potential chaos under another Trump presidency, faced difficulties gaining traction, with polls indicating minimal impact from her efforts in New Hampshire.
“I think it’s a two-person race now between Trump and Biden,” remarked Keith Nahigian, a veteran of presidential campaigns and former member of Trump’s transition team.
While Trump did not actively campaign in New Hampshire, his message resonated with his base, combining personal grievances with right-wing cultural war themes, resulting in commanding polling leads.
Haley’s strategy involved targeting independents, hoping they would reject Trump, but the effort fell short. With Trump securing a resounding victory in Iowa, Haley faces a challenging path ahead, with her home state of South Carolina as the next critical battleground.
The field narrowed to a one-on-one contest after Florida Governor Ron DeSantis withdrew, following his second-place finish in Iowa. Historically, no Republican has won both opening contests without ultimately securing the party’s nomination.
Trump’s false claim about Democrats participating in the Republican contest fueled his campaign rhetoric. However, independents were permitted to vote, and Haley aimed to position herself as the moderate alternative, stressing that most Americans opposed a Trump-Biden rematch.
After the New Hampshire results, Biden’s campaign conceded that Trump had “all but locked up” the nomination, describing the Republican Party’s shift under the “election-denying, anti-freedom MAGA movement.” The Biden campaign emphasized Trump’s focus on imposing further restrictions on abortion rights, an issue that Biden rallied against during an event in Virginia alongside Vice President Kamala Harris.