2024 New Hampshire primary: Trump battles his last major challenger, Haley

MANCHESTER, NH (AP) — Donald Trump Aiming for a commanding victory in New Hampshire on Tuesday, victories in the first two Republican primary races would make a November rematch with President Joe Biden more likely than ever.

Trump's last major challenger is the former U.N. The big question is whether the messenger Nikki Haley, can cut his edge or pull off an upset altogether. Haley has devoted considerable time and financial resources to New Hampshire, hoping to appeal to its famously liberal-minded voters.

In the first results released early on Tuesday, All six registered voters of tiny Dixville Notch They voted for Haley over Trump. This year only a resort town in New Hampshire chose to vote at midnight.

Trump won New Hampshire's Republican primary big during his first run for president in 2016, but some of his allies lost key races during the midterms two years ago. Haley must run against an opponent with deep ties to the GOP base and is focused on winning the state decisively, effectively ending the competitive phase of the Republican primary.

AP reporter Donna Warder reports.

What to know about New Hampshire's primary

If successful, Trump would be the first Republican presidential candidate to win open races in Iowa and New Hampshire since the two states began leading the election calendar in 1976 — a clear sign of his continued hold on the party's loyal voters.

Trump's allies have already pressured Haley, a former South Carolina governor, to drop out of the race before her home state holds the South's first GOP primary on Feb. 24. Those calls will intensify if he easily beats New Hampshire after scoring 30 points. Iowa Caucuses. Haley finished third in Iowa, edging out Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. ended his campaign On Sunday.

If Haley pulls out after Tuesday's vote, it would effectively decide the GOP primary in its second stop, before a majority of Republican voters across the country cast their ballots. Haley insisted Tuesday morning that New Hampshire was not his last round.

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“We're going to South Carolina,” he told reporters. “It's always a marathon. It's never a sprint.

He noted that he survived longer than the other candidates. “I'm not here because of luck,” he said. “I came here because I beat all the other guys. So I'm running against Donald Trump, and I'm not going to talk about obituaries.

Haley is campaigning with Trump critic Chris Sununu, the popular Republican governor of New Hampshire. But he noted that many Republican power brokers are rallying behind Trump, which he said is at odds with the former president's anti-establishment posture.

“The political elite is rallying around President Trump,” Haley asserted. “The political class has got us into this mess. We need a normal, real person to pull us out of it.

Both Haley and Trump were looking to capitalize on recent withdrawals from the race. Haley may get a lift from some supporters of former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who campaigned against Trump but ended his bid shortly before. Caucus of Iowa Last week. Trump, meanwhile, could consolidate the support of conservative voters who backed DeSantis.

On Monday night, one of his former primary rivals in Laconia, South Carolina Sen. Trump, who ran a primary rally with Tim Scott, was already looking to be the last Republican candidate in the race. Asked during a Monday interview with Newsmax about Haley dropping out of the campaign after New Hampshire, the former president said he never called on her to do that, but said “maybe she'll drop out on Tuesday.”

Scott Stebbins Sr., who attended Trump's rally wearing a Make America Great Again baseball cap, called him “the greatest president we've had since Abraham Lincoln” and said Trump “has done nothing but good for our nation.”

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Stebbins said he thought so Four criminal cases And 91 offences Trump is facing “a witch hunt” and has said Trump will “get rid of all the corrupt politicians out there who get paid for a long time.”

“He can't be bought,” Stebbins said. “He's a true American. He always has been.

Democrats also held a primary Tuesday, but it was the first in recent memory.

Biden won the new one Democratic National Committee Party rules The 2024 primary process begins on February 3 in South Carolina, not in Iowa or New Hampshire. He argued that black voters, the party's most reliable constituency and a critical part of his victory in South Carolina, which revived his 2020 primary campaign after three initial losses, should play a larger and earlier role in determining its nominee.

New Hampshire's Democrats, citing state laws that dictate their state must hold the nation's first primary since Iowa's caucuses, pushed their primary forward as planned, defying the updated order.

Biden didn't campaign here And His name will not be on the ballotThat means the state's Democrats can vote for the president's two lesser-known primary challengers, Minnesota's representatives. Dean Phillips and self-help teacher Marion Williamson. However, many of New Hampshire's top Democrats were supportive A write-in campaign they expect Biden to win easily.

Some voters who favor Democrats may vote in a highly competitive Republican primary if they are undeclared.

Karen Padgett, an undeclared voter who saw Haley on Monday. He said he voted for Trump in the last two elections but doesn't plan to do so again, but is “very annoyed with Joe Biden for giving up New Hampshire.”

“Her statement is very old to everybody there, they're very entrenched,” Padgett said of Haley's promises to shake up Washington in ways that Trump promised but never did. “Let's get some new people in there.”

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Instead of focusing on New Hampshire, Biden joined Vice President Kamala Harris in Northern Virginia at a rally to defend abortion rights. Democrats see it as a winning issue For them nationwide in November.

Still, there's a growing sense of inevitability in November, pitting Trump against Biden. Both have been criticized by older opponents — Biden is 81, Trump is 77 — and each has been portrayed as unfit for another White House term.

Public opinion polls show most Americans oppose rematch. In a December AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll, 56% of American adults were very or somewhat dissatisfied with Biden as the Democratic nominee — and 58% viewed Trump as the GOP choice.

Some New Hampshire voters expressed similar frustration.

Jeff Geira, 66, a Republican from Sanford, said he was undecided on the primary but wanted a candidate who would “deal with the issues” rather than settle for the baggage the other two candidates seem to have.

He said he was “disappointed” about being as big as the U.S. “The two frontrunners are the best we have to offer.”

Trump won New Hampshire's Republican primary twice, but lost the state in both of his general election campaigns. Biden finished fifth in the 2020 Democratic primary before winning the nomination. In the November 2020 election, Biden received 52.7% of the vote to Trump's 45.4%.

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Weissert reported from Washington. Associated Press writers Joseph Frederick in Franklin, New Hampshire, Mike Pezzoli in Laconia, New Hampshire, Lynley Sanders in Washington, New Hampshire and Bill Barrow in Atlanta contributed to this report.

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