Trump wins New Hampshire, close to locking in Republican nomination | World News - Hindustan Times
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Trump wins New Hampshire, close to locking in Republican nomination

Jan 24, 2024 10:01 PM IST

Nikki Haley promises to fight on, but has no pathway for a win

Washington: Donald Trump has decisively won the New Hampshire Republican primary, defeating his nearest and only rival in the field, Nikki Haley, and coming one step closer to securing the party’s nomination to be the candidate for the President of the US.

Donald Trump takes the stage with former Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy during his New Hampshire presidential primary election night watch party in Nashua New Hampshire. (REUTERS)
Donald Trump takes the stage with former Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy during his New Hampshire presidential primary election night watch party in Nashua New Hampshire. (REUTERS)

Winning a little over 54% of the vote in a state where both registered Republicans and independents are allowed to choose, Trump effectively put an end to Haley’s run for the nomination. While she bagged a little over 43% of the vote, losing by a double-digit figure, Haley patted herself on the back for her performance in the state, declared that New Hampshire was “first, not the last” of the primaries, and shifted her focus to South Carolina, her home state, which votes in the primaries on February 24.

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But Tuesday was Trump’s day, who appeared annoyed at Haley’s decision to stay on in the race and called her an “imposter” who lost but behaved like she had won. According to exit polls, Trump won more votes among men and women, young and old, and across the state’s geographies, showing his continued hold over the core Republican Party base.

After Trump’s dramatic win in Iowa last week, where he secured more votes than his nearest competitors Ron DeSantis, Haley and Vivek Ramaswamy put together, DeSantis and Ramaswamy dropped out and endorsed Trump. But Haley stayed on in the race, betting on independent voters, the support of the state’s governor Chris Sunnu, and an aggressive campaign against Trump, to pull off an upset win. In a sign of the challenges Trump will face in a general election, there were two segments where Haley polled more votes than Trump — college graduates and independent voters. But that was the extent of her success with Trump sweeping every other demographic.

After the Associated Press called the race in favour of Trump on Tuesday night, Haley first spoke to her supporters in the state. She congratulated Trump, but also mocked those who said that the race was over. “I have news for all of them. New Hampshire is first, not last. The race is far from over. There are dozens of states left to go.” Haley said that at one point, there were 14 candidates in the Republican field, and she had 2%of the vote. “I am a fighter, I am scrappy and we are the last ones standing next to Trump.”

She said that she agreed with many of Trump’s policies, had voted for him, and had served in his administration, but it was time to move beyond “negativity and chaos”, pointing to the court cases, controversies and “senior moments” a Trump candidacy brings. She also hit out on Trump’s winnability, pointing to losses under him in the last four elections, and claimed that it was an open secret that Democrats wanted Trump to be the candidate for that was Biden’s best shot at regaining the presidency. And she shifted focus to South Carolina, a state where she served as governor but where Trump is leading by a huge margin according to polls at the moment and has the support of the state’s senators and the governor.

Trump then stepped out for his own victory speech, accompanied by his family as well as two other former presidential candidates who had dropped out to back him, Ramaswamy and South Carolina senator Tim Scott. Trump began his remarks by hitting out at Haley. “Someone ran up to the stage..She is doing a speech like she won. She didn’t win. She lost. Last week, she ran up and pretended she had won Iowa. And I was like didn’t she come third…Ron (DeSantis) came in second and left and she is still hanging around.”

Trump also countered the winnability argument, claiming he had been winning against Biden in all recent polls and Haley couldn’t win. “She had to win here and she didn’t. I don’t get too angry, I get even,” Trump said in an ominous warning to Haley signalling she should drop out of the race.

Trump then turned to Ramaswamy, who declared that the New Hampshire result was an instance of “America first” defeating “America last” and claimed Haley’s candidacy represented the “ugly underbelly” of American politics where donors had backed a candidate against popular will. Trump came back to the podium then to reiterate his promise of turning around the economy, securing the border, cutting taxes, removing regulations, and beating Biden “who can’t pull two sentences together”.

The battle for the Republican nominee now shifts to Nevada, where only Trump is on the ballot, US Virgin Islands, and then South Carolina. A close second or a surprise win in her home state may lead Haley to stay on in the race till Super Tuesday on March 5, where over half the states vote to pick the nominee. But analysts believe that New Hampshire was Haley’s best bet given the nature of the electorate, the rules of the state’s primary, the backing of the state’s governor, and her own investments in the state and cannot see a pathway for her to secure the nomination anymore with a possible embarrassment in the offing in her own state.

Separately, in an unofficial Democratic primary in the state, Biden, who wasn’t on the ballot, still secured a massive win, defeating his only challenger within the Democratic Party, Dean Phillips, comfortably. The Democratic National Committee, prodded by Biden, has changed the party’s primary calendar by kicking off its caucuses from South Carolina, a decision that didn’t please New Hampshire which used to be earlier in the cycle. The state decided to hold its primary as per the old schedule, Biden wasn’t officially on the ballot, but his supporters still wrote in his name, in another sign that the 2024 presidential elections is set to be a rematch between the former and the current President of the US.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Prashant Jha is the Washington DC-based US correspondent of Hindustan Times. He is also the editor of HT Premium. Jha has earlier served as editor-views and national political editor/bureau chief of the paper. He is the author of How the BJP Wins: Inside India's Greatest Election Machine and Battles of the New Republic: A Contemporary History of Nepal.

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