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Trump keeps momentum with New Hampshire win

The former president has a commanding lead as the campaign heads to Nikki Haley’s home state

Former President Donald Trump at an election night party on Tuesday in Nashua, N.H. Associated Press/Photo by Pablo Martinez Monsivais

Trump keeps momentum with New Hampshire win

Former President Donald Trump’s supporters in New Hampshire celebrated the familiar feeling of victory on Tuesday night.

Campaign volunteer Joe Visconti of Connecticut spent the past week stumping for Trump. He said the only disappointment in New Hampshire was that Trump didn’t win by a wider margin.

“I was here eight years ago tonight,” Visconti told me. “So I felt the same way, but it’s a different time, different world, a lot of different people. The Democrats and the media threw everything at him, and still he pulled it out double digits with record turnout.”

With 83 percent of votes counted Tuesday, Trump had an 11-point lead over former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, his only remaining opponent for the GOP presidential nomination.

“New Hampshire is first in the nation. It is not the last,” Haley said at her state campaign headquarters Tuesday night. “This race is far from over. There are dozens of states left to go, and the next one is my sweet state of South Carolina.”

At his election watch party, Trump invited former primary opponents Vivek Ramaswamy and Sen. Tim Scott on stage to highlight Haley’s lack of support. Scott is from Haley’s home state of South Carolina but has endorsed Trump.

“Let’s not have somebody take a victory when she had a very bad night. She had a very bad night,” Trump said.

Melissa Luyster voted for Trump in both previous general elections. She said this year she decided it was time to get out earlier.

“I see Trump everywhere on people’s lawn signs and flags all over their houses,” Luyster told me outside Trump’s election results watch party in Nashua, N.H. “I had the best time when he was president. Everything was great, the economy was booming.”

As of late December, registered Republicans made up only about 31 percent of New Hampshire’s 873,000 voters. Democrats comprised roughly 30 percent, while independent and unaffiliated voters made up the largest group with 40 percent.

New Hampshire is one of the few states in the country that allow “open” primaries, in which unaffiliated voters may participate in either the Republican or Democratic vote on Tuesday. The voters must sign a document at the polling location that asserts they are a member of a particular party for the purposes of that election. On the way out, they sign another document that returns them to unaffiliated status.

“A lot of independent voters vote Republican,” Dartmouth University professor emerita Linda Fowler told me. “That’s why we have a Republican governor, and why we’re considered a purple state—because we tend to have mixed outcomes over the last decade or so.”

According to exit polls on Tuesday, Haley received votes from moderates and Republican-leaning independents.

Adrianne Liggett has voted for both Republicans and Democrats in this system. On Tuesday, she decided to write in a Republican candidate rather than decide between Trump or Haley.

“Since I moved to New Hampshire and realized I could be an independent, I vote for who I believe can do the best job regardless of party,” Liggett told me. “That’s how these things should be. It should be the person who can do the job.”

One first-time voter in Concord, N.H., told me he voted for Trump because his name was the most recognizable. Another said Trump has an Oval Office record to run on while Haley does not.

“I know what Trump was and what he can be,” electrical salesman Richard Bickford said. “And I don’t know Haley that well, so I’m going with my gut.”

Haley has one month until the South Carolina Republican primary to draw voters away from Trump, but the race is his to lose. An average of polls show that more than half of South Carolina Republicans currently back the former president.

President Joe Biden won the Democratic primary in New Hampshire as a write-in candidate. Because the Democratic National Committee does not recognize this year’s Granite State primary, Biden will not win any delegates. But the respective party support for Trump and Biden sets up a repeat clash between the two this November.

Carolina Lumetta

Carolina is a WORLD reporter and a graduate of the World Journalism Institute and Wheaton College. She resides in Washington, D.C.


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