CONCORD, N.H.—President Donald Trump won the New Hampshire Republican primary on Jan. 23, defeating Nikki Haley, the last contender standing from an initial field of 13 major candidates.

In the Democratic primary, President Joe Biden, who did not appear on the ballot, saved face thanks to a write-in campaign in a contest that was declared “meaningless” by the Democratic National Committee.

After a primary season that many Granite State voters called disappointing, the likely nominees for both parties have emerged at a historically early date, potentially creating the longest general election in American history.

Trump Wins Again

With 91 percent of the votes reported, President Trump had gained 54.9 percent to Ms. Haley’s 43.2 percent, according to the Associated Press.

“Nikki came in last, not second!” President Trump posted on Truth Social late on Jan. 23.
His victory was a strong one it was big, not bigly. In Iowa, President Trump bested Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis by a full 30 percentage points.

President Trump is the first non-incumbent since 1976 to win both Iowa and New Hampshire. Yet, as a former occupant of the White House, he is seen as a quasi-incumbent by his base—a group of Americans who proved more loyal to him than many Beltway Republicans expected.

With two wins in a row, including this one where anti-Trump independent voters were a factor, President Trump has the wind at his back.

Newt Gingrich, former speaker of the House, told The Epoch Times that he believes this is the fastest Republican primary in history, in terms of the field reducing to a single viable candidate this soon into the election cycle.

“This race is over” following a New Hampshire victory for President Trump, he said.

“In recent history, I think Trump is going to be the first non-incumbent to sweep the primary caucus process,” predicted Craig Shirley, a Reagan biographer, in an interview with The Epoch Times.

The former president’s win came in spite of efforts by at least some anti-Trump independents to elevate Ms. Haley.

The power of the independent vote was what Tom Tillotson of Dixville Notch, New Hampshire, the only midnight vote site in the state this year, hoped would resonate from the remote community in the northern mountains. Mr. Tillotson and his wife, the township’s two independents, joined its four registered Republicans in delivering a clean sweep for Ms. Haley.

Down at lower elevations, including swampy Washington, President Trump looks closer and closer to clinching his party’s nomination.

Mr. Gingrich said he thought the contest would last until Super Tuesday, March 5. Now he thinks it might end much sooner.

“It’s all collapsed much much faster than I thought it would,” Mr. Gingrich said.

Haley Vows to Fight On

Former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley outperformed expectations, garnering 43.6 percent of the vote with 81 percent of votes counted. Ms. Haley had been polling around 36 percent in the days before the election.

Buoyed by the result, Ms. Haley vowed to continue the race despite placing third in Iowa and losing the head-to-head contest in New Hampshire.

“They’re falling all over themselves saying this race is over. Well, I have news for all of them,” Ms. Haley said in an election night speech. “New Hampshire is first in the nation, it is not the last in the nation. This race is far from over. There are dozens of states left to go.”

Although President Trump has garnered endorsements from many South Carolina Republicans, including Sen. Tim Scott, Rep. Nancy Mace, Gov. Henry McMaster, and Lt. Gov. Pamela Evette, Ms. Haley predicted a good result in the state’s Feb. 24 primary election.

“Every time I’ve run for office in South Carolina, I’ve beaten the political establishment. They’re lined up against me again, that’s no surprise,” she said. “But South Carolina voters don’t want a coronation, they want an election.”

Chris Ager, chairman of the Republican Party of New Hampshire, expressed doubt that Ms. Haley would or should continue the fight.

Commenting after the race was called but before all votes were counted, Mr. Ager told The Epoch Times, “If the margin gets to 10 percent, I think Nikki Haley should reassess. The point is to win in November, not to look good losing.”

Republican National Committee Chair (RNC) Ronna McDaniel weighed in late Jan. 23, urging the Haley campaign to “reflect” on their path forward, while emphasizing she wasn’t speaking for the RNC.

“I don’t see it for Nikki Haley,” Ms. McDaniel told Fox News.

“I do think there is a message that’s coming out from the voters, which is very clear: we need to unite around our eventual nominee, which is going to be Donald Trump. And we need to make sure we beat Joe Biden.”

Though he stopped short of calling for Ms. Haley’s withdrawal in his victory speech, President Trump was more direct in answer to a later question on the subject.

“She should because, otherwise, we have to keep wasting money instead of spending on Biden,” President Trump said. “If she doesn’t drop out, we have to waste money instead of spending it on Biden, which is our focus.”

Craig Shirley, an author and biographer of President Ronald Reagan, told The Epoch Times, “If she stays in too long, she’s gonna look like a spoiler and slow the process of uniting the party so that Trump can can make his message, can reach out to independents and some Democrats with his message”

Mr. Ager predicted that Ms. Haley would likely exit the race within a few days.

Biden Avoids Embarrassment

President Joe Biden managed to avoid embarrassment amid the feud between Granite State Democrats and the (DNC). A write-in campaign organized on his behalf garnered well over 60 percent of Democratic votes.

Rep. Dean Phillips (D-Minn.) placed second with 21 percent. Marianne Williamson gained 5 percent.

The DNC has pushed for South Carolina, which is more racially diverse than New Hampshire, to be the first contest this year. New Hampshire Democrats were unwilling to accede to this demand.

After New Hampshire refused to alter its primary date, President Biden decided not to appear on the ballot, and the DNC informed New Hampshire’s Democratic party that its primary would be considered a “non-binding presidential preference event” and therefore “meaningless.”

That provided an opportunity Mr. Phillips and Ms. Williamson to gain traction with voters, even though the result would not earn them delegates to the nominating convention.

In an effort to save face for the president, New Hampshire Democrats undertook a write-in campaign, spending $1.5 million in the state to ensure a victory. The Associated Press called the race in President Biden’s favor shortly after the polls closed.

As results were being tabulated, Mr. Phillips told supporters, “This is not just a campaign. I know as a candidate [that] this is the beginning of a movement.”

Mr. Phillips congratulated President Biden on his victory but said the incumbent could not defeat President Trump.

“Joe Biden is a good man; he’s a fine man. Yes, he is, everybody. He’s our president,” Mr. Phillips said. “But I’ve got to tell you, everyone, he cannot win. The polls are saying he cannot win. His approval numbers are saying he can’t win.”

A substantial tally for Mr. Phillips would still be bad news for the president according to Mr. Shirley.

“Anything approaching or exceeding 20 percent [for Dean Phillips] can be reported tomorrow as Biden’s weakness going into the election,” Mr. Shirley said.

President Biden, meanwhile, has yet to comment on his victory.

Independents Turned Out for Haley

Ms. Haley was aided in New Hampshire by a significant number of independent voters who chose to vote in the Republican primary as well as Democratic voters who crossed over to vote for her in opposition to President Trump.

New Hampshire law allows independent voters, termed “undeclared” voters in the state, to vote in either primary.

Voters who have been registered with one party may change their affiliation on election day, making it possible for Democrats to nominally declare themselves Republican for the day in order to vote in that party’s primary, and vice versa.

“I had a lot of liberal friends tell me they were going to vote for Nikki Haley,” Michael Garczynski, 35, of Manchester, told The Epoch Times.

Sarah Kerr, 52, of Manchester, is an undeclared voter who supported Ms. Haley on election day. “I wish it was closer, but I’m thrilled she landed where she did,” Ms. Kerr told The Epoch Times.

Exit polls showed that just 27 percent of Haley voters had been previously registered Republicans. Undeclared voters accounted for 70 percent of Ms. Haley’s support, and voters who had not been previously affiliated with the Republican party accounted for 3 percent.

“I’m glad it’s down to two [Republicans]. I’m a big Joe Biden fan,” Joyce Pracuta, 75, of Wolfeboro, New Hampshire. Ms. Pracuta voted for Nikki Haley “to avoid Donald Trump,” and said a number of the women in her quilt guild did also.

Democrats had little to lose in crossing over to the Republican primary due to their own primary being ignored in the DNC’s nominating process.

Looking Ahead

While Ms. Haley vowed to keep fighting on Tuesday evening, the long-term viability of her campaign remains an open question, particularly as more and more Republican politicians and donors consolidate around President Trump.

Andrew E. Smith of the University of New Hampshire Survey Center said the campaign would need to assess its financial position over the coming days in the event of a loss in New Hampshire.

“The tough choice will be to pull the plug on a campaign right away or if there is time,” he told The Epoch Times.

Tim Hagle, political science professor at the University of Iowa, told The Epoch Times before the results came in that Ms. Haley needed to win if she wanted to “keep her campaign going as the alternative to Trump.”

But even if she did win in New Hampshire, that victory would be no guarantee of success in subsequent states. “Coming in second in every remaining state doesn’t get you the nomination,” Mr. Hagle said.

On the other hand, a victory for President Trump would appear to effectively block her path to the Republican nomination, he said.

The next two contests for Republicans will be in Nevada, where there’s another wrinkle for Ms. Haley. She will be a candidate in the state’s non-binding Feb. 6 primary, whereas President Trump will be in the state GOP’s caucus on Feb. 8. Her decision to side with the state government over her own party is likely to harm her should she reach the convention.

“Candidates that chose to appear on the state-run primary ballot did so knowing that decision meant they could not earn delegates by appearing on the caucus ballots,” the Nevada Republican Party’s website states.
The next consequential matchup is the South Carolina Republican primary, scheduled for Feb. 24.

Ms. Haley is far behind the former president in poll averages aggregated by FiveThirtyEight and RealClearPolitics.

Javier Palomarez, the president and CEO of the U.S. Business Council, had a more positive interpretation of Ms. Haley’s performance on Jan. 23 than some observers, saying that she was “coming in a tight number two.”

Yet, even he acknowledged serious bumps on the road ahead for Ms. Haley, including in her home state of South Carolina.

“South Carolina is going to be critically important for her [Haley’s] performance. All indications are that it’s going to be Trump,” he said.

Janice Hisle, Andrew Moran, and T.J. Muscaro contributed to this report.

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