(The Center Square) – Former President Donald Trump will win New Hampshire’s Republican presidential primary, several media outlets projected Tuesday night, getting him closer to securing the party’s nomination and a rematch with President Joe Biden in November.
Votes were sill being counted, but Trump had gained a significant lead to call the race over former Ambassador and South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, who was the only viable Republican alternative to Trump left after his other opponents dropped out of the race.
With about half of the state’s Republican votes counted, Trump led by more than 10 percentage points, leaving his supporters to call for Haley to drop out of the race a week after the former president dominated Iowa, where Haley finished third.
“Nikki Haley must drop out so we can focus on defeating Joe Biden to Save America,” U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., who chairs the House Republican Conference, wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.
But Haley wasn’t ready to concede, saying that there are many primaries to go.
“New Hampshire is first in the nation, it is not the last in the nation,” Haley said in an upbeat post-election speech to supporters despite her loss. “This race is far from over. There are dozens of states left to go,” noting that her home state of South Carolina is up next.
Republicans in the Senate said otherwise, calling for the party to unite behind Trump.
“Trump is the clear winner,” Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., wrote on X. “Time to stop fighting each other and unite to beat Biden.”
Sen. J.D. Vance, R-Ohio, echoed that sentiment, saying that “at this point Haley can either drop out or help the Democrats.”
Haley has argued Trump lost most of the elections he’s been a factor in, including to President Joe Biden in 2020, and during 2018 U.S. House and 2022 U.S. Senate races. She warned that Vice President Kamala Harris would be the next president if Trump wins the nomination, a hint to questions about Biden’s age and health.
But Trump said the GOP primary is all but over.
“The level of Excitement and Enthusiasm in New Hampshire is incredible,” Trump wrote on TruthSocial Tuesday. “They want STRONG BORDERS, A GREAT ECONOMY WITH NO INFLATION, LOW TAXES & REGULATIONS, A POWERFUL MILITARY, ENERGY INDEPENDENCE, & JUST PLAIN COMMON SENSE. WE WILL MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!”
Trump has racked up several key endorsements this month, including a growing number of U.S. lawmakers as well as his former rivals: Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., businessman Vivek Ramaswamy, and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
DeSantis placed second in Iowa last week narrowly beating Haley, but was polling poorly in New Hampshire. In the other early primary states, his numbers didn’t look much better. He said Sunday in his remarks to leave the race that he did not see a “clear path to victory.”
Iowa and New Hampshire combined only offer 62 total delegates, a fraction of the 1,215 needed to win the GOP nomination. However, a look at the coming states, such as South Carolina and the slew of Super Tuesday states, show Trump with a hefty lead in polls.
The RealClearPolitics polling average has Trump up by 30 points in South Carolina, a vote scheduled for late February. Super Tuesday is scheduled for March.
On the campaign, Haley has touted her foreign policy experience and hammered one big idea: she can beat Biden.
“Another day, another poll confirming what we know: America is ready for a new generational conservative leader and I’m the one who can actually beat Joe Biden in November,” Haley wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter, referring to a January Echelon Insights poll showing that Haley performs better against Biden than Trump does, though both beat Biden in the poll.
The poll shows Haley beating Biden, 53%-45% while Trump wins narrowly, 50%-48%.
Notably, U.S. Rep. Dean Phillips, D-Minn., has launched a bid to replace Biden, calling for a new generation of leaders. Biden did not appear on the New Hampshire ballot because of an internal party dispute over when the primary should occur, but many were expected to write-in Biden’s name.
The latest projections also have Biden winning the primary, despite not being on the ballot.