She’s on to South Carolina.
Nikki Haley’s underdog bid to capture the New Hampshire Republican Primary ended roughly 20 minutes after polls closed when she officially conceded to GOP top dog Donald Trump.
According to the Associated Press, totals as of 9:30 p.m. showed Trump ahead at 53.1 percent (73,254 votes) to 45.7 percent (64,584 votes), with 45 percent of polling locations reporting.
“I want to congratulate Donald Trump on his victory tonight,” Haley said. “He earned it, and I want to acknowledge that.
“Today, we got close to heaven. We still have a ways to go, but we keep moving up.”
The former South Carolina governor is now pinning her presidential hopes on her home state, and she made it absolutely clear she has no intention of getting out of the race.
“New Hampshire is first in the nation; it is not the last,” Haley said as her supporters who gathered inside the Grappone Conference Center cheered. “You’ve heard all the chatter from the political class. They’re falling all over themselves, saying the race is over. It’s not over. There are dozens of states left to go.
“The next one is my sweet state of South Carolina.”
Trump mocked her speech during his remarks after being declared a winner.
“Who the hell was the imposter that went up on the stage before and, like, claimed victory? She did very poorly, actually. She had to win,” Trump said.
The latest RealClear Politics polling average has her trailing Trump by 30.2 percentage points in her home state.
Haley argued abandoning the race to Trump would be doing a favor for Democrats.
“The worst kept secret in politics is how badly the Democrats want to run against Donald Trump,” Haley said. “They know Trump is the only Republican in the country who (President) Joe Biden can defeat.
“A Trump nomination is a Biden win and a (Vice President) Kamala Harris presidency.”
Haley also said Trump will have a tougher time running against her in the Palmetto State, where local voters know her record.
“The voters in South Carolina know I cut their taxes,” Haley said. “They know I’ve signed the toughest illegal immigration bill in the country. They know we passed voter ID and tort reform and ethics reform, and they know we moved 35,000 people from welfare to work.
“Every time I’ve run for office in South Carolina, I’ve beaten the political establishment. They’re lined up against me again. That’s no surprise. But South Carolina voters don’t want a coronation, they want an election.”
Before South Carolina voters head to the polls for that state’s Republican primary on Feb. 24, Nevada will be holding its delegate-deciding GOP caucus on Feb. 8, where Haley’s name won’t even appear on the ballot. Her name will instead be appearing on the Silver State’s Republican primary (Feb. 6) ballots, although the winner there is awarded zero delegates.
Haley had hoped New Hampshire’s independent streak would deliver her the Granite State. It was a sentiment shared by Lester Reed, a 77-year-old independent voter from Plaistow who said he’d attended more than 20 of Haley’s events.
“I’ve never seen so many people out there voting, at least in my hometown,” Reed told the New Hampshire Journal prior to Haley’s concession.
Reed said he’s loved every minute on the campaign trail following Haley.
“I’m 77 years old, I may never get to do this again,” he said. “Tonight is going to be the icing on the cake.”
Although New Hampshire did not produce the results she wanted, Haley reminded her supporters that she was the only GOP candidate remaining besides Trump.
“At one point in this campaign, there were 14 of us running, and we were at 2 percent in the polls,” Haley said. “Well, I’m a fighter, and I’m scrappy, and now we’re the last ones standing next to Donald Trump.
“Today, we got close to half the vote. We still have a way to go, but we keep moving up.”
Immediately after Haley made her concession, the Trump campaign lit up voters’ phones with a donation pitch via text message declaring “THIS RACE IS OVER” (emphasis original) and directing recipients to his response that he declared was a “CONFIDENTIAL MEMO.”
“I am the only person that can STOP JOE BIDEN,” the message read in part.
Haley, however, pointed out in her remarks that the GOP record for competitive elections was poor throughout Trump’s presidency.
“We lost the Senate, we lost the House, we lost the White House. We lost in 2018, 2020, and 2022,” she said. “With Donald Trump, you have one bout of chaos after another — this court case, that controversy, this tweet, that senior moment.
“You can’t fix Joe Biden’s chaos with Republican chaos.”
Pam, a Haley supporter from Concord who declined to share her last name, said she hopes people in other parts of the country saw how hard her chosen candidate fought and “Say hey, we can stand up to Trump, too.”
“She (Haley) definitely has a chance. I’m just so impressed with her. She’s positive, and that’s what the country needs. We have too much negativity. I don’t understand the people voting for somebody (Trump) who spends so much time putting people down.”
Noticeably absent from Haley’s primary watch party is someone who has accompanied her at every campaign stop since she earned his endorsement: New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu. Haley made sure to thank Sununu and his family during her remarks.
Sununu took to social media to put a positive spin on the evening’s disappointing results.
“Nikki Haley turned the narrative of the national media on its head and proved this is indeed a two-person race,” Sununu posted on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter. “And tonight, Granite State voters put wind in her sails as she heads off to her sweet home state of South Carolina.”
“ONWARD AND UPWARD!”