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Trump wins the New Hampshire primary, putting him a step closer to the GOP nomination

Former President Donald Trump pumps his fist as he leaves the stage at the conclusion of a campaign rally at the SNHU Arena on Saturday in Manchester, N.H.
Chip Somodevilla
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Getty Images
Former President Donald Trump pumps his fist as he leaves the stage at the conclusion of a campaign rally at the SNHU Arena on Saturday in Manchester, N.H.

Updated January 23, 2024 at 8:37 PM ET

MANCHESTER, N.H. — Former President Donald Trump has won the New Hampshire primary, according to The Associated Press, a victory that puts him on a clear path to securing the Republican nomination.

Trump dominated in last week's Iowa caucuses, and has now won the first-in-the-nation primary as well.

In New Hampshire he withstood an aggressive challenge from his former United Nations ambassador, Nikki Haley, who is the final major GOP candidate standing in Trump's way after other hopefuls dropped out.

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The result is a huge blow to Haley's longshot effort to be party nominee.

New Hampshire seemed to be uniquely favorable territory for her. Independent voters, known as "undeclared" in the state, could participate in the Republican primary, giving her a boost. Haley and her allied super PACs spent more than $31 million on television ads in the small state, doubling pro-Trump spending. She also had the endorsement of the state's popular Republican governor, Chris Sununu, who campaigned for her tirelessly.

In the final full day of the campaign, Haley insisted to supporters that "Americans do not do coronations."

With this result, Trump's coronation appears almost inevitable.

Still, Haley told her supporters Tuesday evening that she isn't going anywhere.

"You've all heard the chatter among the political class. They're falling all over themselves saying this race is over," Haley said. "Well, I have news for all of them ... this race is far from over. There are dozens of states left to go."

Trump supporters packed arenas during back-to-back rallies leading up to the critical vote here. At those rallies, the former president brought on stage a slew of former rivals and political leaders who had endorsed him, including South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott and Gov. Henry McMaster. (Haley is also a former South Carolina governor who had appointed Scott to his post.)

"We are here for one reason," McMaster said in New Hampshire. "Those great philosophers, the Spice Girls: 'Tell us what you want, what you really, really want. Well, that's what we're here to do: to tell you what we in South Carolina want."

After the race was called, a super PAC supporting Trump issued a statement saying that "every day [Haley] stays in this race is another day she delivers to the Harris-Biden campaign."

"It's time for unity, it's time to take the fight to the Democrats, and for Nikki Haley: it's time to drop out," Taylor Budowich with Make America Great Again Inc. said in the statement.

Haley's uncertain path ahead

Former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley delivers remarks at her primary night rally at the Grappone Conference Center in Concord, N.H.
Tasos Katopodis / Getty Images
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Getty Images
Former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley delivers remarks at her primary night rally at the Grappone Conference Center in Concord, N.H.

Because of its relatively large numbers of independent and college-educated voters, New Hampshire was considered Haley's best chance to disrupt Trump from running away with the nomination.

Trump's victory is likely to fuel more calls for Haley to drop out of the race.

There was a time, before Iowa, when one could imagine Haley coming in a strong second in Iowa, then winning New Hampshire and taking that momentum into her home state of South Carolina.

But instead, she finished third in Iowa, and immediately started lowering expectations for New Hampshire. As she sprinted from diner meet and greets to hotel ballroom rallies, Haley never predicted a win in New Hampshire, instead saying she hoped for a "stronger" finish in the state.

Her goals remained undefined. But second place doesn't provide the momentum shift she needed to shake up the race.

Earlier on Tuesday, Haley's campaign in a memo laid out a hypothetical path into March, saying that she could compete in a wider variety of states, including the 16 that vote on March 5, also known as Super Tuesday.

The next two states on the primary calendar are in less moderate-friendly territory. In Nevada early next month, delegates will be awarded through a party-run caucus where Trump is well-situated, while Haley is instead signed up to appear on the state primary ballot. Then it's on to her home state of South Carolina, where the vast majority of political leaders have endorsed Trump and where the electorate is decidedly more MAGA than in New Hampshire.

Copyright 2024 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Franco Ordoñez
Franco Ordoñez is a White House Correspondent for NPR's Washington Desk. Before he came to NPR in 2019, Ordoñez covered the White House for McClatchy. He has also written about diplomatic affairs, foreign policy and immigration, and has been a correspondent in Cuba, Colombia, Mexico and Haiti.
Tamara Keith
Tamara Keith has been a White House correspondent for NPR since 2014 and co-hosts the NPR Politics Podcast, the top political news podcast in America. In that time, she has chronicled the final years of the Obama administration, covered Hillary Clinton's failed bid for president from start to finish and thrown herself into documenting the Trump administration, from policy made by tweet to the president's COVID diagnosis and the insurrection. In the final year of the Trump administration and the first year of the Biden administration, she focused her reporting on the White House response to the COVID-19 pandemic, breaking news about global vaccine sharing and plans for distribution of vaccines to children under 12.
Lexie Schapitl
Lexie Schapitl is an associate producer with NPR's Washington Desk, where she does a little bit of everything. She can be found reporting from Capitol Hill, producing the NPR Politics podcast or running the NPR Politics social media channels. She has also produced coverage of the January 6th Committee hearings, Trump's first impeachment and the 2020 and 2022 campaigns.