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Trump Triumphs Again Haley Faces Uphill Battle After New Hampshire Defeat

Trump Triumphs Again: Haley Faces Uphill Battle After New Hampshire Defeat

The recent wins of the ex-president in Iowa last week and in New Hampshire on Tuesday have put his primary Republican opponent, Nikki Haley, in a challenging position.

Donald J. Trump secured a significant victory in the New Hampshire primary on Tuesday, marking the second consecutive win in the Republican nomination race. This triumph further strengthened his call for the party to unite behind him and raised uncertainties about the future course for Nikki Haley, his sole remaining competitor.

Nikki Haley Faces A Challenging Journey

Eight days following the substantial defeat of Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida in Iowa, Nikki Haley experienced a loss in New Hampshire. The former president, Donald J. Trump, and his supporters have emphasized the significance of his back-to-back victories. They assert that, after just two initial contests, it is imperative for the party to rally behind Trump in anticipation of a rematch against President Biden in November.

In his victory speech in Nashua, New Hampshire, Mr. Trump acknowledged a noteworthy historical fact: no Republican candidate who has won the first two states has ever failed to secure the presidential nomination.

If you emerge victorious in Iowa and triumph in New Hampshire, where they’ve never experienced a defeat — they’ve never had one — we’re not going to be the first, I can assure you,” Mr. Trump declared to the audience.

Nikki Haley Faces A Challenging Journey

Irrespective of the unfolding events, Tuesday’s victory solidified Mr. Trump’s position as a historical figure representing the party. Prior to Mr. Trump, only sitting presidents among Republicans had achieved wins in both the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary.

On Tuesday night, The Associated Press swiftly declared the winner as soon as the last polls closed, eliminating any suspense from the outcome. Within minutes, Ms. Haley hurried to address her supporters at her election party in Concord, N.H., emphatically arguing that endorsing Mr. Trump for the nomination would essentially mean conceding the general election to the Democrats.

“If you don’t win an election, you can’t fix the mess,” she remarked. “A Trump nomination means a victory for Biden and a Kamala Harris presidency.”

Despite the setback on Tuesday, Ms. Haley committed to continuing the fight. “New Hampshire is the first in the nation — but it’s not the last,” she asserted. “This race is far from over.”

Prior to Mr. Trump’s appearance on Tuesday night, the ex-president labeled Ms. Haley as “delusional” in a social media post. This was one of several posts he wrote in all capital letters while she was speaking.

It provided a glimpse of the forthcoming victory speech by the former president, characterized by its acerbic and occasionally crude tone. On the national stage, he took the opportunity to criticize his lone remaining rival, someone whose voters he would eventually need to win over in the upcoming fall election.

Referring to her defeat, Mr. Trump asserted, “She didn’t win. She lost,” labeling her an “impostor” he had defeated decisively. He ridiculed Ms. Haley for delivering an overly confident concession speech, stating, “This is not your typical victory speech, but let’s not let somebody take a victory when she had a very bad night.”

Republicans wasted no time increasing the pressure on Ms. Haley to withdraw. Taylor Budowich, the CEO of Mr. Trump’s super PAC, urged, “It’s time to drop out.” Senator John Barrasso of Wyoming, part of the Republican leadership and a previous endorser of the former president, referred to Mr. Trump as the “presumptive” nominee on social media. Senator John Cornyn of Texas, who had been critical of Mr. Trump, formally endorsed him, declaring, “Republicans need to unite around a single candidate.”

Ms. Haley, the former United Nations ambassador for Mr. Trump, had aimed to narrow the 2024 primary to a one-on-one race with him for months. With Mr. DeSantis’s withdrawal on Sunday, she finally got her wish, but with only a single full day before voting began in New Hampshire to make her case to independent voters and Republicans that she would be the strongest Republican candidate against Mr. Biden.

Nikki Haley's New Hampshire Campaign: Struggles, Trump's Tactics, and the Road Ahead

In New Hampshire, Nikki Haley went to great lengths, from serving beers to cradling babies, as she traversed the state alongside its Republican governor, Chris Sununu, who had given her his endorsement. Despite her efforts, New Hampshire voters seemed to overlook Haley’s warnings about Donald Trump’s legal troubles, including four indictments in the past year and 91 felony criminal counts. The rivalry between the 77-year-old Trump and the 52-year-old Haley had intensified, with Trump resorting to nativist tactics, playing on her birth name and even promoting birther conspiracy theories. In her concession speech, Haley pointed out Trump’s recent confusion between her name and Nancy Pelosi’s, using it to advocate for generational change. Now, having heavily invested in Iowa and New Hampshire, Haley faces the challenge of gaining momentum in states beyond the initial two, as her super PAC has allocated the majority of its $71 million expenditure to these early contests, according to federal records.

Facing the prospect of a potentially arduous month, Ms. Haley decided to forego participation in the Nevada caucuses alongside Mr. Trump on Feb. 8, following rule changes by the state party that worked in his favor.

On Tuesday, Mr. Trump proudly declared our victory in Nevada. While the official Nevada caucuses are still two weeks away, Mr. Trump, being the only remaining significant G.O.P. candidate contending for delegates, is anticipated to secure all of them.

The upcoming major showdown between Mr. Trump and Ms. Haley is scheduled for February 24 in the South Carolina primary, the latter’s home state where she previously held the position of governor.

As the pace of the calendar decelerates, it is Mr. Trump who gains political momentum. Over the past 10 days, four of Trump’s former rivals have rallied in support of him: Mr. DeSantis, Vivek Ramaswamy, Governor Doug Burgum of North Dakota, and South Carolina’s junior senator, Tim Scott, initially appointed to the Senate by Ms. Haley.

Trump's Momentum Grows: Endorsements, Humor, and Early GOP Unification

As the political calendar slows down, Donald Trump finds himself with the prevailing political momentum. In a lighthearted exchange on Tuesday, Trump joked with Senator Tim Scott, stating, “You must really hate her,” to which Scott responded, “I just love you.” The day before, Trump received another endorsement from a Republican lawmaker in Nikki Haley’s home state, Representative Nancy Mace, despite Trump’s previous attempts to oust her following her strong criticisms of his actions during the January 6, 2021, Capitol riot. Interestingly, Haley had campaigned alongside Mace in 2022. Senator J.D. Vance, a Republican from Ohio, who was campaigning for Trump in New Hampshire, noted the early unification of support, typically expected in June or July during a normal primary season, but occurring in January this time around due to the perception that the race is effectively over.

Despite facing setbacks, Nikki Haley remains determined to forge ahead in the presidential race. Expressing optimism on Tuesday night, she declared, “There are dozens of states left to go, and the next one is my sweet state of South Carolina.” The Haley campaign is gearing up with a $4 million ad campaign in South Carolina, coupled with fundraising efforts in New York, Florida, California, and Texas over the next two weeks to replenish campaign funds. Haley and her supporters argue that Donald Trump’s support hovers near the 50 percent mark in the first two states, suggesting potential vulnerability as a former president universally recognized.

In their memo preceding Tuesday’s vote, Susie Wiles and Chris LaCivita, the strategists at the helm of the Trump campaign, forecasted that if Nikki Haley did not withdraw from the race, she would be “demolished and embarrassed” in South Carolina, emphasizing their prediction in all capital letters.

Scott Reed, an experienced Republican strategist who had been involved with a super PAC backing former Vice President Mike Pence, noted that Nikki Haley had relinquished her prime chance to secure an early and clear victory.

“This is a binary business – it’s about winning or losing,” remarked Mr. Reed, drawing parallels to the historic battles in rental-car commercials. “It’s challenging to persist in the role of Avis – perpetually declaring ‘We’re number two or number three!’ – trailing behind Hertz.”

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