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.”