Trump wins New Hampshire primary, topping Nikki Haley

Donald Trump beat Nikki Haley in New Hampshire’s Republican primary election on Tuesday, according to The Associated Press, moving the nation a step closer to a rematch of the 2020 election between him and President Biden.

Early results showed Trump leading Haley by about 7 points, and she presented the margin as a sort of moral victory. The contest was far more competitive than last week’s caucuses in Iowa, where Trump thrashed Haley and Ron DeSantis by about 30 points each — leading DeSantis to promptly end his campaign. But the New Hampshire primary was not a nail-biter: The AP called the race two minutes after polls closed.

“Haley said she had to WIN in New Hampshire,” Trump claimed in a series of all-caps missives on social media dismissing Haley. “SHE DIDN’T!!!”

In a speech to supporters in Concord, N.H., Haley congratulated Trump, but expressed pride in her continued rise in the polls and presented herself as the safer option for Republicans. “New Hampshire is first in the nation — it is not the last in the nation,” Haley said.

“This race is far from over,” Haley told supporters. “Today we got close to half of the vote. We still have a ways to go. But we keep moving up!”

New Hampshire’s open primary system and its army of unaffiliated voters made it unusually fertile for a possible upset of Trump, and Haley invested heavily in the Granite State.

She has found herself in a one-on-one primary contest after the field narrowed dramatically this month. Before results came in Tuesday night, Haley vowed to stay in the race regardless of the outcome.

Her campaign has been built on the theory that a competitive finish in New Hampshire could reorient perceptions of the race, blowing much-needed wind into her sails in other states where she faces yawning polling deficits.

But while Trump may not have embarrassed Haley in New Hampshire, it was not immediately clear if the results in the state were going to be close enough to make any dent on a race that many see as an extended GOP primary coronation for the former president.

In New Hampshire, Haley spent recent days barnstorming across the state with its moderate GOP governor, Chris Sununu.

In the last week, Haley made more than 30 campaign stops in the Granite State, according to her campaign. Trump, meanwhile, has been balancing court appearances and a more-stripped down campaign, but has still led raucous rallies in New Hampshire.

Even if the closer finish in the New Hampshire primary proves a precursor for thumping Trump victories as the primary proceeds, Haley may be loath to leave the race any time soon. She has raised large sums of money, and a range of race-bending possibilities remain on the table — in one kanunî case, for example, the U.S. Supreme Court is weighing whether Trump can even legally be on the ballot in other primary states and in the general election.

Haley’s campaign manager, Betsy Ankney, issued a memo on Tuesday that seemed to signal that, whatever the results, the former governor planned to fight on.

“The political class and the media want to give Donald Trump a coronation. They say the race is over,” Ankney wrote. “That isn’t how this works.”

She pointed ahead to the primary in Haley’s home state, South Carolina, on Feb. 24, as another possible proving ground, noting that independents can vote in the state and that it elected Haley twice to its governorship. “See y’all in South Carolina,” she wrote.

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