Former President Donald Trump has defeated former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley in the New Hampshire Republican primary, the Associated Press projects, taking one step closer to his third GOP presidential nomination and a second term in the White House.
Haley, speaking to supporters after the race was called on Tuesday night, pledged to stay in the race.
As she spoke to supporters in Concord, N.H., she said she planned to stay in the race for the long haul.
“Now you've all heard the chatter among the political class. They're falling all over themselves saying this race is over,” Haley told supporters in Concord. “Well, I have news for all of them: New Hampshire is first in the nation; it is not the last."
“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,” the former South Carolina governor added.
But Trump appeared to be angered by Haley’s optimistic remarks and her continued challenge to his hold on the party.
“This is not your typical victory speech. But let's not have somebody take a victory when she had a very bad night. She had a very bad night,” Trump said at his victory party, as results showed him with a roughly 10 point lead with about half of the votes counted. “I can go up and I can say to everybody ‘Oh, thank you for the victory it’s wonderful.’ Or I can go up and say, ‘who the hell was the imposter that went up on the stage before and like claimed a victory. She did very poorly, actually.”
“You can’t let people get away with b*******, okay?” he later added. At one point, he told the crowd: "I don’t get too angry. I get even."
Since launching his campaign, Trump has been charged with 91 felonies in four criminal cases, echoed the rhetoric of Adolf Hitler and other dictators on the campaign trail, referenced being a dictator on “day one” of his next administration, embraced more authoritarian policies and politics, promised to free people imprisoned for crimes connected to the violent Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol and been found liable by a jury for sexual abuse.
But on Tuesday, after just two contests in the 2024 GOP primary, Trump finds himself in a strong position to secure his party’s nomination and face President Joe Biden in the general election. National polling shows Trump even or ahead of Biden. Republicans have won the presidency twice in the 21st century despite losing the popular vote.
“if you took the 10 worst presidents and put them together, the 10 worst, absolutely 10 worst… they would not have done the damage that crooked Joe Biden has done to our wonderful country,” Trump said in his victory speech. “They must hate our country because there’s no other reason that they can be doing the things they do.”
In the New Hampshire Democratic primary on Tuesday night, Biden defeated his long shot challengers despite not being on the ballot, offering the clearest sign yet of a 2020 election rematch. A write-in campaign orchestrated by his allies successfully beat out the efforts of Minnesota Rep. Dean Phillips, spiritual leader Marianne Williamson and other minor candidates.
“Tonight’s results confirm Donald Trump has all but locked up the GOP nomination, and the election denying, anti-freedom MAGA movement has completed its takeover of the Republican Party,” Biden’s campaign said in a statement. “While we work toward November 2024, one thing is increasingly clear today: Donald Trump is headed straight into a general election matchup where he’ll face the only person to have ever beaten him at the ballot box: Joe Biden.”
There are still Republican primary contests to be run. Nevada hosts a caucus and a primary in early February, but Haley and Trump will not be competing in the same race. After that, South Carolina is scheduled for Feb. 24, but Trump leads Haley by some 35 percentage points in her home state. A spattering of Republican primary caucuses will take place over the ensuing week, followed by Super Tuesday on March 5 — when 16 states and territories will have GOP primaries and caucuses.
“At a certain point she's going to be, I believe, forced to leave. She won't leave easily,” Trump said on “The Howie Carr Show" on Tuesday. “I think she'll probably stay as long as she can. And maybe longer than she should. And we’ll see what happens, but the numbers are on our side.”
It remains a question whether Haley’s second place finish will be enough to convince donors and supporters she can eventually start winning primary contests. Heading into Tuesday, she was polling better in New Hampshire than anywhere else in the country. She’s pledged to stay in the race for the long haul, with her campaign specifically eyeing Super Tuesday as a pivot point in the race.
“Just a little note to Nikki: she’s not going to win,” Trump said before suggesting he knew “five reasons” why she might come under investigation by the Department of Justice. On Feb. 8, he will collect all the Republican delegates in the Nevada GOP caucuses, where he is running unopposed, before heading to South Carolina for the state’s Feb. 24 primary.
“We'll head out to South Carolina, I think we're gonna win easily,” Trump said. “Fifty points up on a person that was governor, that tells you something.”
Trump is far outpacing her in endorsements, rapidly consolidating support from senators, governors, members of Congress and other top Republicans, including in South Carolina. Four of Trump’s previous competitors have endorsed him: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum and Ohio entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy.
“What we saw tonight is America first defeating America last, that's what we saw tonight,” Ramaswamy said at Trump’s victory party after being introduced by the former president as “the only person more angry than say me” at Haley. “What we see right now with her continuing in this race is the ugly underbelly of American politics, where the megadonors are trying to do one thing when we the people say another. And it's up to us, to we the people, to get long last say ‘hell no.’”
In her speech on Tuesday night, Haley argued Trump’s chaos would hurt down ballot Republicans in November.
“With Donald Trump, you have one bout of chaos after another. This court case, that controversy, this tweet, that senior moment,” Haley said, predicting a Biden victory if Trump is her party’s nominee. “You can’t fix Joe Biden chaos with Republican chaos.”
But a majority of GOP senators and the entirety of House leadership seem to disagree.
After the result was announced, Sens. John Cornyn of Texas and Deb Fischer of Nebraska joined nearly 30 of their senatorial colleagues in endorsing Trump. Haley has yet to secure a Senate endorsement and has just a single House backer.
“I have seen enough. To beat Biden, Republicans need to unite around a single candidate, and it’s clear that President Trump is Republican voters’ choice,” Cornyn wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.
“It’s time for Republicans to unite around President Donald Trump and make President Joe Biden a one-term president,” Fischer said in a statement.
House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., who has already endorsed Trump along with the rest of House GOP leadership, congratulated the former president in a statement while calling on the GOP to unite around his candidacy.
"Congratulations to President Trump on his decisive victory tonight in America's first-in-the-nation primary!" Johnson said. “"Our House Republican leaders and a majority of Republican Senators support his reelection, and Republican voters in Iowa and New Hampshire have strongly backed him at the polls. It's now past time for the Republican Party to unite around President Trump so we can focus on ending the disastrous Biden presidency and growing our majority in Congress."
New York Rep. Elise Stefanik, a top House Republican and a possible contender for the vice presidential slot on Trump’s ticket, said in a statement that Republican voters “overwhelmingly rejected Nikki Haley” and urged her to drop out.
“For the sake of the Republic, it is well past time for her to suspend her failing campaign and unite behind President Trump to take on the most corrupt president in history Joe Biden,” Stefanik said. “I know President Trump will defeat Joe Biden; the voters know it, Joe Biden knows it, and Nikki Haley knows it. Any effort to desperately divide Republicans going forward will be remembered and seen as a direct assist to Joe Biden’s failing campaign. It must end now."