Donald Trump is one step closer to an election rematch against United States Democratic President Joe Biden, as the former president secured a decisive victory in New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation primary on Tuesday.
Within minutes of the state’s polling stations closing, US media announced Trump had beaten his Republican rival Nikki Haley by a substantial margin, dealing a powerful blow to her campaign.
With 91 percent of votes counted, Trump won with 54.6 percent of votes and an 11 percentage point winning margin over Haley, who was at 43.2 percent. By late Tuesday, 20 of 22 delegates to the Republican National Convention had been allotted based on the voting: 11 going to Trump and eight to Haley.
The ex-president’s resounding victory follows a similarly strong showing in the Iowa caucuses last week, cementing his lead in the race for the Republican presidential nomination ahead of November’s general election. No presidential candidate has ever won the first two contests on the presidential race calendar – as Trump has now done – and not emerged as their party’s nominee.
New Hampshire had been framed as Haley’s last best chance to make a dent in Trump’s runaway lead. But despite her loss, the former United Nations envoy said in a speech on Tuesday night that she plans to continue her campaign.
While most of the attention was focused on Tuesday’s Republican primary results, President Biden also secured a resounding victory in his party’s primary race, despite not appearing on the ballot.
Biden did not participate in the New Hampshire contest due to a scheduling spat between state Democrats and the Democratic National Committee, but his supporters launched a successful campaign to urge voters to write the president’s name on the ballot anyway.
He easily bested two distant Democratic challengers, Minnesota Representative Dean Phillips and author Marianne Williamson, who were on the ballot along with a host of little-known candidates.
In a statement after the results were announced, Biden’s re-election campaign manager Julie Chavez Rodriguez indicated her attention was now focused on Trump, dismissing Haley’s prospects as a Republican contender in the general election. New Hampshire has held the first primary in each US presidential election year since 1920.