Former President Donald Trump charmed his Iowa base, winning 98 of 99 counties, and flew east to begin courting the GOP voters in the less-frigid Granite State. The 2024 Republican presidential frontrunner is scheduled to speak today (Jan. 16) at the Atkinson Country Club — exactly one week before New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation presidential primary.
Trump has three events planned in the tiny – but critical – state: today’s in Atkinson; a rally Saturday, Jan. 20, at Southern New Hampshire University Arena in Manchester; and one at the Rochester Opera House on Jan. 21. That may seem like a busy week, but remember it takes about an hour and a half to drive across the state north to south. That may seem like a breeze after the blizzard conditions and -20 degrees encountered in all 99 counties in Iowa.
But Trump may face a few less MAGA friends in NH.
A Week to Wow
And, of course, we have competing polls in the run-up to primary election day. A University of New Hampshire (UNH) survey released these numbers: “Trump leads with 39%, Nikki Haley is on his heels at 32%, and bringing up the rear, Ron DeSantis at 5%.” However, because no one wants to be dead wrong, like in 2016, a Suffolk University poll gives Trump 46% of the vote compared to Haley’s 27%, and Ron DeSantis again seemingly drowns at 8%. But an estimated 4 in 10 likely primary voters in the CNN/UNH poll are undeclared: moderate voters and undeclared.
The clock is also ticking for Republican candidates to appear on the NH debate stage on Jan. 18. They can’t just show up willy-nilly: They must jump through a few hoops, such as placing at least third in Iowa or receive at a minimum ten percentage points in either two national polls or in two separate New Hampshire polls.
DeSantis isn’t bothering – he’s now southbound to candidate Haley’s home state for what may be his last gasp.
Quirky NH GOP
If Iowa brought the funk in the caucus to light, the Granite State GOP brings the quirk. What would you expect in the state with the motto Live Free or Die, which is the exact sentiment of many Republicans heading toward November 2024.
In the past, several tiny hamlet residents would gather to cast their vote at midnight — and the media eat that kind of thing up. Only one town is sticking with the tradition this year: Dixville Notch, population 6. And all six are voters planning to attend.
Democrats will not see the name of Joe Biden on their ballot. The president recused himself in New Hampshire to stick to the Democratic National Committee’s (DNC) decision to upend its primary schedule. Stalwart Biden believers will have to write in the name. If the DNC imagines that it is running the show, New Hampshire state law says, “Ahem, not so fast.” The primary will still be held first for Democrats and Republicans before any “similar election.”
Trump, of course, is on the ballot and already working the Granite State with his unusual amount of energy.
“New Hampshire is going to weed out the insincere RINOs … Republicans in name only,” Trump said, smack-talking rivals DeSantis and Haley, both former loyal allies. And then Trump ominously warned what his allies-turned-opponents would do next: They “will betray you just like they betrayed me.”
This is going to be a fun week in the Northeast.