Trump projected to hold off Haley, win New Hampshire primary Continue Reading Below first comment

Former President Donald Trump took a giant step closer to his third consecutive Republican presidential nomination in Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary, holding off former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley to complete a sweep of the first two GOP contests.

Meanwhile, President Biden secured victory in New Hampshire’s Democratic primary, despite not being listed on the ballot and leaving supporters to write his name in.

With 91% of the expected Republican vote in, Trump led Haley with 54.8% support to her 43.2% — a narrower margin than most polls suggested he would win by entering primary day and close enough for Haley to tell cheering supporters in Concord she would continue the race at least through the primary in her home state Feb. 24.

A few moments later, the 77-year-old 45th president took the stage in Nashua to deliver a taunting triumphal address directed at his last major rival in the GOP field.

“Who the hell was the imposter that went up on the stage that went before and claimed victory?” Trump asked as his supporters chanted “Bird-brain!” in reference to the former president’s derogatory nickname for his one-time ambassador to the United Nations. “She did very poorly, actually.”

The former president, flanked by onetime 2024 rivals Vivek Ramaswamy and Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) and allies like far-right Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) also sneered at New Hampshire GOP Gov. Chris Sununu for backing Haley, telling the crowd “he’s gotta be on something” before demanding once again that the former South Carolina governor leave the race.

“Ron [DeSantis] beat her also,” Trump said, referencing the Florida governor’s showing in last week’s Iowa caucus. “Remember, Ron came in second, and he left.”

The former president was boosted coming into the Granite State by a series of endorsements from elected officials — including DeSantis after he dropped out of the race Sunday.

As in Iowa, the Trump camp intended to leave nothing to chance, with the man himself telling supporters to turn out in large numbers because “margins are important” and back-to-back blowouts would send a message of “unity” in the GOP.

Trump also flooded New Hampshire with prominent surrogates — including No. 4 House Republican Elise Stefanik (R-NY) in addition to Scott, Greene and Ramaswamy — while his campaign made hundreds of thousands of phone calls in a bid to boost voter turnout.

For Haley, New Hampshire was seen by many as her best opportunity to defeat the GOP frontrunner, with some polls showing her within four percentage points of the former president.

The ex-UN envoy leaned heavily on the state’s large population of independent voters and veterans, focusing on her vision for the economy, foreign policy and her husband’s military experience.

On primary morning, Haley’s campaign vowed to fight on at least through Super Tuesday on March 5, when 16 states and territories hold their nominating votes.

“After Super Tuesday, we will have a very good picture of where this race stands … Until then, everyone should take a deep breath,” campaign manager Betsy Ankney wrote in a memo.

Donald Trump speaking at a primary election party with Vivek Ramaswamy, Tim Scott, and Eric Trump standing behind him.
Trump took a giant step closer to his third straight Republican presidential nomination on Tuesday.
Haley’s path forward will be an uphill climb.

She is not registered for the Feb. 8 Nevada caucus and is instead entered in the Feb. 6 non-binding primary, meaning she is not eligible to receive delegates.

Haley said Sunday she chose to not compete against Trump in the caucus because the Silver State was already “bought and paid” for by his campaign.

In South Carolina, meanwhile, Haley is currently polling more than 30 points behind Trump, coming in at an average of 21.8% compared to his 52.0%, according to RealClearPolitics.

With 87% of estimated votes counted in the Democratic primary, Biden had recorded 37.2% support, more than enough to thwart his nearest challenger, Rep. Dean Phillips (D-Minn.), who attained 19.6% of the vote.

As of early Wednesday, another 30.8% of ballots in the Democratic race were unprocessed write-in votes, the vast majority of which were expected to go to Biden as well and push his share comfortably above 50%.

Self-help author Marianne Williamson was a distant third, with 4.8% of the vote.

Biden declined to register for the New Hampshire primary ballot following a calendar dispute between the Democratic National Committee and state officials.

The DNC had attempted to move the first-in-the-nation primary to South Carolina on Feb. 3, but New Hampshire refused to comply, since state law mandates it hold its primary at least a week before any other state.

To counter Biden’s snub, state Democratic bigwigs put their influence behind the “Write-in Biden” initiative, which placed volunteers at polling places, put up signs and sent out mail instructing voters on what to do on primary day.

Longtime Democratic strategists feared that Biden’s absence from the ballot could lead to a repeat of the 1968 primary, when then-President Lyndon B. Johnson also was not listed on the ballot and announced he would not seek another term following a narrower-than-expected win over Sen. Eugene McCarthy (D-Minn.)

Phillips said Tuesday night that Biden had “absolutely won tonight, but by no means in a way that a strong incumbent president should” before vowing to “go to South Carolina, and then we’re going to go to Michigan and then we’re going to go to 47 other states.”

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