MANCHESTER, N.H. — Former President Donald Trump easily won New Hampshire's primary on Tuesday, seizing command of the race for the Republican nomination and making a November rematch against President Joe Biden feel all the more inevitable.
The result was a setback for former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, who finished second despite investing significant time and financial resources in a state famous for its independent streak. She's the last major challenger after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis ended his presidential bid over the weekend, allowing her to campaign as the sole alternative to Trump.
Trump’s allies ramped up pressure on Haley to leave the race before the polls had closed, but Haley vowed after the results were announced to continue her campaign. Speaking to supporters, she intensified her criticism of the former president, questioning his mental acuity and pitching herself as a unifying candidate who would usher in generational change.
“This race is far from over. There are dozens of states left to go,” Haley said, while some in the crowd cried, “It’s not over!”
Trump, meanwhile, can now boast of being the first Republican presidential candidate to win open races in Iowa and New Hampshire since both states began leading the election calendar in 1976, a striking sign of how rapidly Republicans have rallied around him to make him their nominee for the third consecutive time. He posted especially strong results in the state's most conservative areas, while Haley won more liberal parts. The only areas in which Haley was leading Trump in early returns were in Democratic-leaning cities and towns such as Concord, Keene and Portsmouth.
With easy wins in both early states, Trump is demonstrating an ability to unite the GOP’s factions firmly behind him. But about half of GOP primary voters in New Hampshire said they are very or somewhat concerned that Trump is too extreme to win the general election, according to AP VoteCast, a survey of the state’s electorate. Only about one-third say the same about Haley.