Haley tries for strong showing against Trump as New Hampshire voters head to polls

(The Center Square) – Presidential primary voters are heading to the polls in New Hampshire on Tuesday as former Ambassador Nikki Haley tries to mount an improbable takedown of former President Donald Trump.

Both the Republican and Democrat primary votes take place Tuesday, where the weather is cold but not expected to hand voters the heavy snowfall of Iowa’s caucuses last week.

Notably, U.S. Rep. Dean Phillips, D-Minn., has launched a bid to replace Biden, arguing he is too old and a new leader is needed. He has an opportunity to perform well and draw attention in New Hampshire, where Biden will not appear on the ballot because of an internal party dispute over when the primary should occur.

The latest CNN/University of New Hampshire poll released Sunday has Trump leading Haley 50%-39%. That is the closest competition Trump has in any early primary state, according to polling.

Haley is Trump’s only remaining rival unusually early in what was a crowded primary. Only 40 of the 1,215 delegates need to win have been awarded, but polling shows that Trump’s lead seems insurmountable.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is the latest to leave the race. He dropped out over the weekend and endorsed Trump. That endorsement came on the heels of two other previous rivals, businessman Vivek Ramaswamy and Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., who Haley actually appointed to the Senate in 2012 when she was governor.

DeSantis had received just over 20% of the vote in Iowa, narrowly besting Haley but failing to close the gap with Trump despite spending heavily in the state. Trump garnered just over 50% of the vote, more than all of his opponents combined.

National polling shows Trump does even better. The recently released Center Square Voters’ Voice poll asked Republican voters in early January the question: “Which of the following candidates are you most likely to vote for in the 2024 Republican primary?”

Of those surveyed, 61% of Republicans named Trump, 13% chose Haley while 12% picked DeSantis.

Trump also beats incumbent President Joe Biden in a general election faceoff by 4%, according to the poll.

A growing group of Republicans in the House and Senate have also thrown their weight behind Trump, even going to bat for him at the U.S. Supreme Court, which is currently considering the legal effort to remove him from the ballot in Colorado.

Sen. Ted Cruz filed an amicus brief with the court in Donald J. Trump v. Norma Anderson, et al., the case in question, which was signed by nearly 140 members of Congress.

The battle shows that while Trump may have a handy lead over all his political opponents, the myriad of legal troubles facing him, including nearly 100 criminal indictments, may be enough to sink his campaign.

“The radical left consistently does what they claim their opponents are doing,” Cruz said in a statement about the brief. “While President Biden and his allies claim they are defending democracy, their supporters are working to undermine democracy by banning Biden’s likely general election opponent from appearing on the ballot.

“The American people see through this, and I’m confident the Supreme Court will as well,” he added.

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