Trump speaks at NH GOP event as Haley announces 2024 run

Michael Hanna, Crier Staff

Former President Donald Trump attended the New Hampshire GOP convention in Salem on January 28th. Speaking for nearly an hour, he declared to his potential voters that this campaign would be his most hard-edged race yet, adding, “I’m more angry now and more committed now than I ever was.”

Trump reiterated during his speech his commitment to keeping New Hampshire’s First In The Nation Primary in its rightful spot, despite losing the state in both general elections in 2016 and 2020. A poll from the University of New Hampshire has Trump trailing Florida Governor Ron DeSantis by 12 points.

College Republicans Spokesman Pat Marcoux thinks the range of candidates in this coming election will be smaller than in years past, saying, “There might be the same amount of candidates, but I feel the field has been relegated to three or four frontrunners, so you aren’t going to have the same and you certainly won’t have the wide slate of candidates that happened to the Democrats in 2020.”

Many are predicting those frontrunners being Trump and DeSantis. Polling site Race to the White House has Trump and DeSantis neck and neck in an average of all national polling sources. At the State Convention, DeSantis supporters had set up a “Draft DeSantis” table just outside the auditorium where Trump was speaking. Marcoux says, “The DeSantis table just shows that people are willing to pick a favorite early and that people in this state are willing to pick a Floridian.” Trump’s hold on New Hampshire might, in fact, be waning.

Former South Carolina Governor and United States Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley is announcing her campaign for the Presidency as well in the coming days. Her resume speaks for itself, with six years of executive experience as governor of a consistently red state and foreign policy experience as one of the nation’s top diplomats for two years.

Haley worked in the Trump administration but managed to avoid much of the backlash due to her early departure in 2018. Haley supported her former boss in 2021, calling his actions on January 6th “not his finest,” but did not support his second impeachment attempt. A month later, in a Wall Street Journal op-ed, Haley wrote, “Most of Mr. Trump’s major policies were outstanding and made America stronger, safer, and more prosperous. Many of his actions since the election were wrong and will be judged harshly by history…I will gladly defend the bulk of the Trump record and his determination to shake up the corrupt status quo in Washington.”

Haley might be the most qualified non-former president to seek office in 2024. However, qualifications do not always matter. 

Marcoux reminds us, “There is merit to being the most experienced candidate, but I think the American voter base is far more willing to forgive absence in a political record for if not name recognition but the flashiness of certain candidates.”

Haley would be a well-rounded candidate in a general election and have a tough resume to beat, but first, she must make it past a primary where her name isn’t as popular as Trump or DeSantis. Haley only received about 3% of possible primary votes in that same national average poll. 

Marcoux believes that in order to make it to the general election, “She’ll need to win over the hardcore Republican primary voters and, at the same time, win over the Trump dissenters and those who feel like they have been disenfranchised by the Trump style of politics but getting them to even turn out for the primary would be a challenge for any candidate looking to loosen Trumps grip on the party.”

Nikki Haley becomes first Republican to challenge former President Trump in 2024 (Courtesy / National Press Club )
Donald Trump seeks third consecutive GOP nomination despite failure in midterms (Courtesy / FLICKR)