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New Hampshire primary : Donald Trump and Nikki Haley to go head-to-head

Donald Trump and Nikki Haley

The former US president Donald Trump is aiming to deal a significant blow to the campaign of the former South Carolina governor as she vies for the Republican nomination. Ms. Haley is banking on New Hampshire’s group of independent voters to propel her to an unexpected victory in the wake of Mr. Trump’s resounding win in Iowa last week.

This contest will ultimately determine the Republican nominee who will go on to challenge the likely Democratic nominee, President Joe Biden, in the upcoming November general election. If the matchup materializes, it would be a re-run of the 2020 presidential vote, with Mr. Biden at 81 and Mr. Trump at 77 years old.

While Democrats are also participating in their primary in New Hampshire, President Biden is notably absent from the ballot due to a disagreement between national and local party officials. This marks the first time a sitting president has not appeared on the ballot in a primary.

The Republican nomination race narrowed to just two contenders after Florida Governor Ron DeSantis came in a distant second in Iowa’s caucuses and subsequently withdrew from the race, throwing his support behind Mr. Trump. Even before DeSantis’ exit, Trump held a substantial lead in New Hampshire’s polls. The majority of DeSantis’ supporters seem to consider Trump as the preferable alternative.

During a rally in Laconia, New Hampshire, on Monday night, Mr. Trump disparaged Nikki Haley, saying, “If you want a losing candidate who puts America last, vote for Nikki Haley.” He accused “globalists and radical left communists” of influencing liberals to support her in the Republican primary, claiming she was an easy opponent.

Most voters in New Hampshire were expected to cast their ballots on Tuesday, with a few individuals in Dixville Notch voting at midnight in a longstanding tradition. In this tiny resort town, all six registered voters favored Nikki Haley over Donald Trump.

At a campaign event earlier in the day, Haley, 52, criticized Trump, suggesting that he was preoccupied with the legal challenges he faces. Trump, who denies all charges, alleges political persecution. Haley remarked, “When you hear Trump speak, what’s he talking about? Grievances, the past. He’s talking about vendettas. Biden’s talking about investigations. Neither one of them is talking about the future. I’m doing this because… I don’t want my kids to live this way.”

Haley, a former UN ambassador under President Trump, urged voters to decide whether they wanted more of the same or something new when they go out to vote.

The Haley campaign is placing its hopes for a potential upset on the 40% of voters in New Hampshire who are registered as independents. The state is generally considered more moderate than deeply conservative Iowa, where Trump secured the Republican nomination in both 2016 and 2020.

The Democratic New Hampshire primary, also taking place on Tuesday, is at the center of a dispute between state party officials and the national Democratic National Committee (DNC). The DNC changed the primary order to prioritize South Carolina, asserting that it better reflects the country’s diversity. However, New Hampshire party officials decided to proceed with the primary, prompting the DNC to withhold delegate awards and not recognize the results. As a result, Biden is not on the ballot, leading some of his Democratic allies in New Hampshire to encourage voters to write his name in when casting their votes.

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