New Hampshire primary: Trump says he ‘couldn’t care less’ if Haley stays or drops out of race – live | US news

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Trump says he ‘couldn’t care less’ if Haley stays or drops out of race

Donald Trump, at a polling site in New Hampshire this afternoon, insisted Nikki Haley wasn’t a threat to his campaign and predicted a “big loss” for his rival in the state. He said:

I think she’s worked very hard, but I couldn’t care less, if she drops out that’s fine.

Trump said he wouldn’t comment when asked if he had spoken with Ron DeSantis since the Florida governor dropped out of the race on Sunday and endorsed him.

Republican presidential candidate and former President Donald Trump speaks to members of the press outside of Londonderry High School in Londonderry, New Hampshire.
Donald Trump speaks to members of the press outside of Londonderry High School in Londonderry, New Hampshire. Photograph: Brandon Bell/Getty Images

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Key events

Danielle Stephens

It’s not just political bigwigs like Donald Trump and Nikki Haley whose campaigns are counting on New Hampshire.

Long-shot Democratic candidate Jason Palmer turned up today at Cat Alley Café in downtown Manchester, the state’s largest city, where he told a group of intrigued college students that he was hoping to finish third in the party primary.

His candidacy was news to me. I had been working in the cafe, and unknowingly asked the entreprenneur-turned-presidential candidate to watch my bag when I went to get a coffee. I only learned he was a candidate when someone in the group he spoke to informed me.

Palmer, a venture capitalist who is serving on the board of numerous startups and was a former deputy director at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, finished off his talk with the students by handing out free gloves that said, “when I’m president in 2032, you can say you got the official gloves from 2024”.

He then sauntered out of the café on his own.

Which is not to say that everyone in Laconia is on board with returning Donald Trump to the White House.

As he waited outside the neighborhood church for his wife to finish voting inside, 73-year-old retiree Peter Spollett described himself as a “big fan of not Trump.”

“Trump’s a fucking disaster. I love this country and I’d never support someone who’d undermine this country as he has,” he said.

Spollett had written in Joe Biden to show support for the president, who he said has “done a great job”.

“Yeah, he’s not perfect, but things aren’t as fucked up as when Trump was there,” he said, adding he wished he was a registered independent so he could have received a Republican ballot, as state law allows, and voted against Trump.

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So friendly is Laconia to Donald Trump that he chose it as the site of his last rally before the New Hampshire primaries.

The former president spoke at a resort in the city, which is at the heart of what is known in the state as its Lakes Region, for its many bodies of water:

Donald Trump speaks during his final rally before the New Hampshire primaries in Laconia last night.
Donald Trump speaks during his final rally before the New Hampshire primaries in Laconia last night. Photograph: Matt Rourke/AP

The rally was notable because three of Trump’s former rivals for the nomination – entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, North Dakota governor Doug Burgum and South Carolina senator Tim Scott – campaigned alongside him:

Donald Trump (left) listens as senator Tim Scott speaks. Vivek Ramaswamy is behind him on the far right, next to North Dakota governor Doug Burgum.
Donald Trump (left) listens as senator Tim Scott speaks. Vivek Ramaswamy, is behind him on the far right, next to North Dakota governor, Doug Burgum. Photograph: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

One big name not in attendance was Ron DeSantis, the Florida governor who was at one point viewed as Trump’s leading rival for the nomination, but dropped out on Sunday after a weak showing in Iowa’s caucuses. He has endorsed Trump, but may still be smarting from his campaign of insults against him.

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When it comes to Trump country in New Hampshire, look no further than Belknap county, one of two that Donald Trump won three years ago.

He lost the state overall, as every Republican candidate has since George W Bush’s victory in 2000. But in the lakeside town of Laconia, where voters chose Trump in 2016 and 2020, the former president’s faithful were making their way to a church in a quiet neighborhood to give him another shot at victory in November.

As she left the polling station, 52-year-old Denise Forgione recounted how she likes “everything” about Trump.

“He’s a strong leader, and he will get (stuff) done,” she told the Guardian’s US politics live blog. She had voted for him previously, and the only other candidate she was considering this year was Florida governor Ron DeSantis, who on Sunday dropped out and endorsed Trump.

One candidate she had no interest in was Nikki Haley. “She just isn’t in my wheelhouse of what I’m looking for in a president,” Forgione said. Why? “She lies. A lot.”

She wouldn’t go into how she believed the former South Carolina governor had deceived voters, but she expected her to fail in her quest to win the state. “With her, I still think it will be very close, but Trump will take it.”

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Lauren Gambino

Lauren Gambino

Standing outside of a polling place in Derry, Michelle Moge held a sign urging voters to write Joe Biden’s name on the ballot.

“I think it’s important that people know we support him even though we’re not going to have the delegates,” she said.

She understands why some New Hampshire Democrats are upset with the way the party reorganized its primary process, allowing South Carolina to upstage its first-in-the-nation primary status. But Moge understands why.

“We are not a diverse state,” she said of the state’s mostly white population. “I feel sad that we’re not getting that woo-woo but at the same time, it makes sense. South Carolina is a lot more diverse than we are, they should be seen.”

“It’s an interesting idea to me to open it up and make the politics a little more diverse.

“We’ve just got so many old white men – I love Joe, he’s great. Wasn’t my first choice in 2020 but I voted for him because it’s the right thing to do,” she said.

Nodding to the Trump volunteers who were across the sidewalk, cheering and singing songs, she said she was baffled how so many of her fellow New Hampshire voters could still “get behind a man who’s a convicted criminal by a jury of his peers, who’s been convicted as a rapist by a jury of his peers and people are still gonna vote for him”.

Moge sighed heavily: “It’s important to me to say, hey, we’re not doing that. We Democrats see that there is another choice who isn’t a criminal. Vote for him.”

Asked if she was worried Biden might be overshadowed by his nominal challengers Dean Phillips or Marianne Williamson, Moge said it wouldn’t be a bad thing if the president’s campaign felt a bit of pressure.

“Be warned,” she said. Let the results push Biden on policy, she said, adding, “Medicare for All is a wonderful thing. I wanted it before and I want it now. I want an extremely pro-choice candidate. . … I want all these things I don’t have, but I’m going to keep voting for the people who are going to get us closer and closer to that.”

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All eyes are on the results of the Republican primary tonight in New Hampshire, but we are also going to learn how the state’s voters are feeling about Joe Biden, and the two long-shot candidates looking to unseat the president as the Democratic nominee. Here’s the Guardian’s Joan E Greve with a look at Dean Phillips’s and Marianne Williamson’s campaigns in the state, and the write-in campaign in support of the president:

As New Hampshire voters head to the polls on Tuesday, much attention will be paid to the Republican presidential primary, but another race could provide additional clues about the general election in November.

New Hampshire Democrats are moving forward with holding their presidential primary on Tuesday, despite warnings from the national party. The Democratic National Committee decided last year to make South Carolina the first voting state, a move that upended a century-old tradition of New Hampshire hosting the first primary.

Outraged over the voting calendar change, New Hampshire officials have chosen to hold an unsanctioned Democratic primary on Tuesday, although the DNC has said it will not award delegates based on the results. Joe Biden’s name will not appear on the ballot, but his allies have launched a vigorous write-in campaign in support of his re-election.

New Hampshire polls to begin closing at 7pm ET; results expected soon after

Polls in New Hampshire will begin closing at 7pm ET, and results will begin coming in shortly after that.

In 2020, the first results were reported at roughly 7.30pm ET, but Democratic ballots may take longer to tabulate this year because of the expected large number of write-in votes.

Historically, the Manchester and Concord areas have reported results faster, while northern New Hampshire has been slower to count ballots.

As we reported earlier, Nikki Haley has already been declared the winner in Dixville Notch, where all six registered voters backed the former South Carolina governor.

Phil Stokel pets Finn at Christ the King Parish, during the New Hampshire presidential primary election, in Concord, New Hampshire.
Phil Stokel pets Finn at Christ the King Parish, during the New Hampshire presidential primary election, in Concord, New Hampshire. Photograph: Reba Saldanha/Reuters

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Two prominent No Labels donors have sued the centrist political group for pulling a “bait and switch” by preparing to back a third-party presidential candidacy after seeking donations to support “bipartisan activism”.

Douglas and Jonathan Durst, cousins who are part of the powerful Durst real estate family in New York, allege that No Labels has “lost its way, abandoned its original mission, and fundamentally betrayed its donors’ trust in the process” in their lawsuit, filed in the New York state supreme court on Tuesday.

The suit seeks damages and reimbursements for the $145,000 that the Dursts donated years ago, when No Labels was founded on the promise of finding governing solutions, the New York Times reported. The suit reads:

This case seeks to hold No Labels accountable for the consequences of its misguided actions that have left its original benefactors like the Dursts feeling bewildered, betrayed and outraged.

No Labels has “shifted seismically from its original mission” and its donors “should not have to stand idly by”, it continues.

Founded in 2009, No Labels is now on the ballot in 14 states and say it will decide in March whether to offer its ballot line to a unity presidential ticket.

Critics say if No Labels does mount a campaign, polling shows more voters likely to peel from Joe Biden than Trump, handing the latter the White House for a second term should he be the Republican nominee.

The Dursts’ lawsuit continues:

A third ticket option is a clear break from No Labels’ prior goal of uniting the two parties in Congress to pursue common sense solutions — instead, it incites division amongst Americans.

Nikki Haley’s campaign raised $1.5m in the first two days after Ron DeSantis dropped out of the Republican primary race on Sunday, her campaign told Fox News today.

In an interview with the outlet, Haley said:

Everybody wants to talk about big dollar donations. These are all small donations. I mean, we’ve received just in the last two days a million and a half dollars in small donations from all over the country.

Trump says he ‘couldn’t care less’ if Haley stays or drops out of race

Donald Trump, at a polling site in New Hampshire this afternoon, insisted Nikki Haley wasn’t a threat to his campaign and predicted a “big loss” for his rival in the state. He said:

I think she’s worked very hard, but I couldn’t care less, if she drops out that’s fine.

Trump said he wouldn’t comment when asked if he had spoken with Ron DeSantis since the Florida governor dropped out of the race on Sunday and endorsed him.

Republican presidential candidate and former President Donald Trump speaks to members of the press outside of Londonderry High School in Londonderry, New Hampshire.
Donald Trump speaks to members of the press outside of Londonderry High School in Londonderry, New Hampshire. Photograph: Brandon Bell/Getty Images

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Hugo Lowell

Hugo Lowell

A federal appeals court on Tuesday rejected Donald Trump’s request that it reconsider his appeal against a gag order imposed against him in the criminal case over his efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election.

The move paves the way for a potential final challenge to the US supreme court.

The decision by the US court of appeals to deny Trump an en banc rehearing – where the full bench of judges consider the matter – marks the latest setback for the former president after an earlier three-judge panel also rejected his appeal.

For months, Trump has been attempting to free himself from a limited protective order entered by the US district judge Tanya Chutkan, who is overseeing the criminal case in Washington. The order prohibits him from making inflammatory statements that could intimidate trial witnesses or poison the jury pool.

The gag order came after special counsel prosecutors complained that Trump’s brazen public statements attacking them, court staff and potential trial witnesses could chill witness testimony and impede the fair administration of justice.

Read the full story here.

Donald Trump in Laconia, New Hampshire, on 22 January 2024.
Donald Trump in Laconia, New Hampshire, on 22 January 2024. Photograph: Matt Rourke/AP
Lauren Gambino

Lauren Gambino

Linda Gallant of Derry doesn’t typically vote in the Republican primary. But the undeclared voter pulled a Republican ballot today. She said:

I’ll vote for anyone that has a chance to beat Trump.

Her support for Haley is mostly about denying Trump the nomination, but she said she could be persuaded to support her in a general election against Joe Biden, whom she voted for in 2020.

She’s young, she’s fresh. I think she brings a different energy.

Trump “brings chaos wherever he goes, like she says. He’s not a nice person. He’s not an admirable person. She is and so is Joe Biden, but anybody other than Trump.”

Lauren Gambino

Lauren Gambino

Congressman Byron Donalds, a Trump supporter, dropped by the polling place in Derry to thank campaign volunteers for their support. He posed for photos and thanked supporters who said they can’t wait for him to run for president one day.

Donalds has called on Haley to drop out of the race if she loses to Trump in New Hampshire on Tuesday.

“Nikki Haley’s got to show she can win a state. And this is the only one in my view that she’s got a shot in,” he told yours truly. “This is the end of the line for her.”

Donalds also insisted that Trump was “on it” mentally, after Haley questioned his mental acuity. Trump appeared to confuse her for Nancy Pelosi during a recent speech. Afterward, she added a segment of her stump speech raising the issue of Trump’s age and fitness for office.

Donalds said he was with Trump on Monday night and found him unchanged mentally or physically.

“I know President Trump spent time with him, like saw him yesterday, saw him last night. It’s not even the same situation, not even the same ballpark,” he told me.

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Lauren Gambino

Lauren Gambino

Jessica Bastien, an undeclared voter in Derry, showed up to cast her ballot for Donald Trump wearing a top with the former president’s mugshot and the words: “NOT GUILTY”.

Bastien is undaunted by the four criminal charges and 91 felony counts he’s facing as he marches toward the Republican nomination. In her view, each count is baseless and she is hopeful he will ultimately be acquitted.

“I support his love for the country. His policies. His truthfulness and always sticking by what he says and protecting the US citizens first,” she said.

Asked what would happen if Trump loses, she said Biden was too weak to win and wouldn’t contemplate any other outcome. In the unlikely event Trump is dethroned in the primary, she is not sure what she would do in November.

“I think both parties are corrupted and have their ways of lying to us,” she said, adding that Trump’s movement doesn’t need the support of anti-Trump Republicans to win.

“I’m not really worried about that,” she said. “I don’t think we lost anything. I think we lost the people that we should have lost a long time ago.”

Lauren Gambino

Lauren Gambino

Voters arrived at a steady pace to cast their ballots in Derry, home to the largest polling place in the country. In a sign of the town’s importance to Haley’s hopes of a David v Goliath-sized upset on Tuesday night, the candidate dropped by to thank volunteers.

Steve Pearson, who represents Derry in the state legislature, was holding the lone Haley sign when I spoke to him outside of Pinkerton Academy high school. A raucous group of Trump campaign volunteers lined the sidewalk with signs next to a scattered group holding signs for Democratic candidates Dean Phillips and Marianne Williamson. On the opposite side, a handful of people urged voters to “write in” Joe Biden’s name.

Just after midday, Jim MacEachern, a Republican who serves on the town council, said 3,700 people had already cast their ballots. Roughly 700 people chose a Democratic ballot while 3,000 took a Republican one.

If the pace keeps, and the weather keeps cooperating, he predicted the polling booth would see as many as 12,000 people by the end of the day.

“For a primary, that’s pretty damn good,” MacEachern said. The secretary of state had predicted record-breaking turnout among Republicans, and Derry’s strong participation is a sign New Hampshire might be on track to do that.

“A high turnout will bode well for her,” Pearson told me. “Because the diehard Trump Trump folks are coming out either way. It’s the independents, it’s the Republicans who are looking to find a candidate that they think is electable” who will make the difference.

“For too long we’ve treated the primary as the prize when the prize is the White House,” he said. “You needed a candidate who is electable at a national scale.”

Trump and Georgia representative Marjorie Taylor Greene made an appearance at a polling place in Londonderry, New Hampshire, as voting is under way in the state’s primary.

Greene helped stomp for Trump, declaring on social media that the primary was “over” and that “Donald Trump is our nominee”.

When asked if she had a final message for New Hampshire voters, Greene said, in part: “I think the big message is that this is a referendum on the Republican party and it’s been coming. Republican voters…are sick and tired of uni-party Republicans, the neo-con establishment wing of the party.”

My message from Londonderry, New Hampshire!

Tonight, Republican voters are going to send a LOUD and CLEAR message:

Donald Trump is our nominee and the primary is OVER! pic.twitter.com/6M6r7gsl7R

— Marjorie Taylor Greene 🇺🇸 (@mtgreenee) January 23, 2024

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David Smith

David Smith

Andres Hulfachor, 21, a student in Nashua, New Hampshire, voted for Donald Trump. He said:

He can bring a better America. I wasn’t too happy with what Joe Biden did. I feel like honestly this country has gotten a little bit soft, and he can bring back that hard working culture. There’s a lot of people that have that victim mindset now since Joe Biden has been president.

Donald Trump can give out that winning mindset that we need to be a country that other countries look at and don’t really laugh at. On foreign relations, Joe Biden didn’t do a good job at all. Donald Trump got a lot of respect from other countries. That’s very important considering what’s going on right now around the world.

Hulfachor would also be fine with Nikki Haley as the nominee:

I don’t think she’s a bad candidate at all. If she ends up becoming president, I wouldn’t be disappointed at all. She’s a great lady, speaks well, has a lot of good ideas. I know my parents are fans of Nikki Haley too but I have Trump a touch in front of her. But like I said, if she wins, I won’t be too disappointed.

Chris Stein

Chris Stein

Law student AhLana Ames did not vote for a person, but for a word: “ceasefire”.

She used her Democratic ballot to take part in a campaign to write in the term to protest the Biden administration’ support of Israel’s invasion of Gaza.

“I’m against war in general. I don’t think what’s going on in Israel is particularly just,” the 23-year-old said.

I’m not particularly pleased with how Joe Biden is handling it, but wanted to vote Democratic.

The president has been under increasing pressure from the left for his administration’s defense of Israel, which staged a bloody invasion of Gaza following Hamas’s 7 October terrorist attack and mass kidnapping. An estimated 25,000 Palestinians have died in the incursion, but the Biden administration has generally refrained from openly criticizing Benjamin Netanyahu’s government, and allowed Israel to buy US weapons, leading some progressives to say they will not vote for Biden again.

Ames plans to soon move to Pennsylvania, a swing state Biden will likely need to win to get a second term in office. While she may look into supporting a third party candidate, she concedes that would likely be pointless, and she will probably end up voting for Biden again. She added:

I just know I’ll never vote for a Republican candidate.





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