Former US President, Donald Trump extended his commanding lead in the race for the Republican presidential nomination by winning the New Hampshire primary on Tuesday night, January 23, but rival Nikki Haley, who was his former Ambassador to the UN, vowed to still stay in the White House contest.
Trump had 55 per cent of the votes counted at 11pm Eastern Standard Time, while Haley held 43.5 per cent. With votes still to be counted, the exact margin of his victory will only be known later in the evening.
Trump’s New Hampshire win follows his landslide victory last week in Iowa, where the former president won more than 50 per cent of the vote. He is the first non-incumbent in the modern era to win both Republican presidential contests in Iowa and New Hampshire.
The victories in the two crucial early states give Trump momentum as the Republican nominating campaign moves to the South, setting him on course for a rematch in the 2024 general election with Democratic incumbent Joe Biden.
“We had one hell of a night tonight,” Trump told supporters at a post-election party in Nashua, New Hampshire, on Tuesday night, as he lashed out at Haley for staying in the race and said she would never win the Republican party’s nomination for the White House.
“Just a little note to Nikki: she’s not going to win,” Trump added.
Despite Trump’s back-to-back victories, Haley said at her own election night party in Concord, New Hampshire, that the race was “not over” and touting the next major contest in South Carolina, where she served two terms as governor though she still trails the former president by double digits in recent polls in that state.
“New Hampshire is first in the nation, it is not last in the nation,” Haley told supporters.
“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.”
Haley finished in a disappointing third place behind Florida governor Ron DeSantis in Iowa last week. DeSantis suspended his campaign and endorsed Trump at the weekend, saying it was “clear” that a “majority of Republican primary voters” wanted to give the former president another chance.
Haley faces some challenges as some donors might not be willing to fund a protracted primary process that could stretch for months and she still lose.
After the South Carolina Republican primary on February 24, the race will turn to Super Tuesday on March 5, when more than a dozen states will hold elections and award delegates.
Trump has secured endorsements from almost all major Republican candidates who have withdrawn from the race, including the high-profile backing of Tim Scott, a senator from Haley’s home state of South Carolina.