Haley makes final New Hampshire push to slow Trump
Gram Slattery, Nathan Layne and James Oliphant |
Donald Trump’s last remaining Republican opponent, former UN ambassador Nikki Haley, has made a final push to convince New Hampshire voters to turn out and deliver her an upset victory in the state’s presidential nominating contest.
New Hampshire’s primary vote on Tuesday will split the state’s Republican voters into those supporting former president Trump and those against him.
The contest became a one-on-one race on Sunday, when Florida Governor Ron DeSantis ended his struggling campaign and endorsed Trump.
Trump, who polls show leads Haley by double digits, hopes to deliver a fatal blow to the former South Carolina governor’s campaign by notching another commanding win.
He coasted to a record victory in Iowa’s first-in-the-nation contest last week.
For Haley, New Hampshire represents perhaps her last chance to prove the Republican base could consider someone other than Trump, who commands the party’s faithful despite facing 91 felony counts.
He has pleaded not guilty to all, claiming political persecution.
At a campaign event in New Hampshire on Monday, Haley told a packed hall that Trump was hung up on vendettas and preoccupied with court cases, keeping him from focusing on the future.
“When you go out on Tuesday, you’re gonna decide: do you want more of the same, or do you want something new?” Haley, 52, asked voters in the town of Franklin.
Trump, 77, held just one event, in Laconia, where he was joined by former Republican presidential candidates, including senator Tim Scott and entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, who have since endorsed him.
He repeated previous claims that his opponents, not him, were enemies of democracy since the Justice Department has indicted him on multiple criminal counts, some related to his attempts to overturn his 2020 election loss to President Joe Biden.
“Our enemies want to take away my freedom because I will never let them take away your freedom,” Trump said, to loud applause.
Biden has cast Trump as a threat to democracy.
The state’s large number of independent voters make New Hampshire friendlier turf for Haley than more conservative Iowa.
Even so, Trump holds a double-digit lead in most statewide public polls.
A Haley victory could give her the momentum she needs for the next major nominating contest on February 24 in South Carolina, her home state where she served two terms as governor.
The winner of this year’s Republican nominating contests will take on Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee, in November’s general election.
The national Democratic Party made South Carolina its first official primary so Biden is not on the ballot on Tuesday.
Still, support for Biden’s write-in campaign in New Hampshire will be closely watched amid weak polls for the 81-year-old president.
Trump had been expected to spend the morning potentially testifying in a New York courtroom in a defamation case brought by author E Jean Carroll, who says he raped her decades ago.
But the trial was postponed after a juror reported feeling ill and a parent of Trump’s lead lawyer tested positive for COVID-19.Reuters