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Down to two: Trump, Haley vie for New Hampshire after DeSantis drops out

Even if all of DeSantis' former supporters in New Hampshire united behind Haley, it still will not be enough to boost her against Trump.

Published: January 21, 2024 11:04pm

The 2024 Republican presidential primary is down to Donald Trump and his former appointee, former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, as they both rally in New Hampshire after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis withdrew from the race and endorse the former president. 

DeSantis was polling in third place ahead of the nation's first presidential primary Tuesday in New Hampshire before he dropped out Sunday. 

Even without DeSantis in the race, it is unlikely to boost Haley enough to beat Trump in New Hampshire, where the former president is polling at an average of 48.9% compared to Haley's 34.2%, according to FiveThirtyEight. Before he left the race, DeSantis only had 5.2% support on average.

However, because New Hampshire primary rules allow independents as well as Republicans to cast their votes in the GOP primary, it may harm Trump and help Haley.

Both Trump and DeSantis issued heavy criticisms of Haley on Sunday after the Florida governor left the race. 

"I made a pledge to support the Republican nominee, and I will honor that pledge," DeSantis said Sunday when endorsing Trump. "He has my endorsement because we can't go back to the old Republican guard of yesteryear, a repackaged form of warmed-over corporatism that Nikki Haley represents." 

The Trump campaign said it was "honored" by DeSantis' endorsement.

"Nikki Haley is the candidate of the globalists and Democrats who will do everything to stop the America First movement," the former president's campaign also said. "From higher taxes, to decimating Social Security and Medicare, and to open borders, she represents the views of Democrats more than the views of Republicans."

Haley has picked up endorsements from moderate Republicans, such as former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, who dropped out of the race last week, New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu and former Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, as well as groups such as billionaire Charles Koch's Americans for Prosperity Action.

Other prominent conservatives are fighting against Haley and urging her to drop out of the race. 

"Nikki Haley must and will be defeated," commentator Mark Levin posted on X, formerly Twitter, after DeSantis left the race. 

"I don't think any informed or knowledgeable libertarian or conservative should support Nikki Haley," Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., said, citing Haley's support for overseas intervention. 

"Nikki does have baggage. She just hasn't faced the onslaught of years of media attacks, of Super PAC attacks, that Donald Trump has faced," Sen. J.D. Vance, R-Ohio, said. "I don't think she'll survive it. I certainly don't think she'll win the presidency through it.

”That's why we need to elect a guy who's shown resilience. That's why we need to nominate Donald Trump,” Vance added.

Follow Madeleine Hubbard on X or Instagram.

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