By Eric Bradner, CNN
(CNN) — Former President Donald Trump will win New Hampshire’s Republican presidential primary, CNN projects, defeating former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and moving him closer to a rematch with President Joe Biden this fall.
Trump’s victory, eight days after a big win in the Iowa caucuses, marks the first time in the modern primary era that the same candidate has won both the Iowa and New Hampshire Republican contests, and further solidifies his hold on the GOP.
It’s a crushing blow to Haley’s 2024 hopes and those of the party’s anti-Trump factions. New Hampshire’s primary electorate is much more moderate than other early voting states, thanks to nearly 40% of the state’s voters being registered as “undeclared” and allowed to participate in the primary of their choosing. Polls consistently showed Haley, who was Trump’s ambassador to the United Nations, performing best among moderate voters and those eager to move on from the former president.
Haley is the last candidate standing in the way of Trump’s third consecutive Republican presidential nomination, after entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy dropped out following a disappointing fourth-place finish in the Iowa caucuses and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis exited on Sunday.
She’d sought to portray Trump, who will be 78 by Election Day in November, and Biden, who will be 81, as past their primes and “equally bad.”
She also had a prominent supporter in New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu. However, as demonstrated by DeSantis’ loss in Iowa despite the endorsement of Gov. Kim Reynolds, there are limits to a popular Republican governor’s influence when stacked up against Trump.
It wasn’t enough to stop Trump from making history by becoming the first non-incumbent Republican in modern presidential politics — since the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary moved to the front of the nominating calendar — to win both states.
Focus shifts to South Carolina
The next contest is in Nevada — but Haley has already ceded that state to Trump. Circumventing the state’s primary, where Haley will on the ballot on February 6, the Nevada GOP opted to award its delegates instead through caucuses that will take place on February 8. Haley chose to file for the primary and not the caucuses, which means Trump is certain to dominate in the delegate-awarding contest.
Her next real shot at Trump would come on February 24, when her home state of South Carolina holds its primary.
The “first in the south” primary has a long history of picking presidential nominees. It’s where Biden cemented his status as the Democratic front-runner in 2020 and where Trump’s win thinned out a still-crowded GOP field in 2016.
Already, Trump has sought to embarrass Haley with a raft of Republican endorsements from her former allies in her home state. Sen. Tim Scott, who Haley appointed to the Senate when she was governor in 2013, and Rep. Nancy Mace, who Haley supported against a Trump-backed challenger in 2022, both endorsed Trump in recent days.
“I have watched the political class line up with Donald Trump. I have fought the political class all my life. You won’t see the political class with me in South Carolina,” Haley said at a Monday campaign stop in Franklin, New Hampshire.
CNN’s Ebony Davis contributed to this report.
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