New Hampshire voters have cast a dark shadow over Nikki Haley's ambitions. While the state's Republican primary results are still coming in, one thing is already clear: Haley's hoped-for victory over Donald Trump has not materialized.
According to opinion polls, Trump receives about 54% of the votes, compared to only 43% for Haley. This puts Trump's Republican nomination within reach.
About the author
Thomas Roepe is the US correspondent for De Volkskrant. Lives in New York. He is the author of the book Laura H.
Last week, Trump achieved a record victory in the state of Iowa, where the Republican Party primaries began. Never in history has a candidate avoided the nomination after winning both states.
“This is not your typical victory speech,” Trump warned his New Hampshire audience Tuesday evening. He certainly thanked his constituents, but above all he attacked his implacable rival. “She's having a terrible night.”
Much to Trump's apparent anger, Nikki Haley, despite her loss, does not want to withdraw.
“We're just getting started,” Haley responded Tuesday night during a speech in Concord, New Hampshire's capital. She insists she will stay in the race. The next primary on the agenda is South Carolina, which will be held on February 24.
“Voters in South Carolina don’t want a coronation,” Haley said. “They want the election. And we're going to give it to them.” The winner reacted angrily. Trump called her “crazy” on social media after the speech.
The feasibility of Haley's planned reboot is debatable. Her path to nomination has always been that of a goat. That became narrower, if not banned, this week.
New Hampshire offered Healy the best chance against the leader. The electorate in this northern state is dominated by independent, often moderate, voters who are allowed to vote in partisan elections. Haley expressed hope that their vote, along with the anti-Trump Republican wing, would give her the upper hand. It turns out that this is not enough.
Now that Haley has failed to win even moderate New Hampshire, the question is what she can offer the more conservative South Carolina. Although Haley was governor there, she was far behind Trump in the polls. “I love South Carolina,” Trump quipped on stage Tuesday night.
He is also leading in the polls in that state. With Trump's victory in New Hampshire and an expected win in South Carolina, the battle this November will almost certainly be between Trump and Biden – just as it was four years ago.
Joe Biden did not participate, but he won
The Democratic primary, held simultaneously, in New Hampshire was won by the candidate who was not on the ballot: Joe Biden. This brought the bureaucratic drama to a successful end for the president.
Democrats decided last year to move their first ballot, traditionally in New Hampshire, to South Carolina in early February. New Hampshire did not accept this and continued to hold primaries – which the party does not recognize.
Although the result was not counted, and Biden was absent from the ballot, concerned Democrats in New Hampshire began the so-called “Write in the campaign'. Voters were asked to manually write “Joe Biden” on the ballot. This way, the president can win without running for office and without losing face.
This procedure appears to have been successful. Since manual recordings also have to be recorded manually, the counting is slow. What is certain is that Biden received more votes than his competitors. Congressman Dean Phillips was the only person to actually campaign in New Hampshire.
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