Home » Haley Finally Gets The Two-Person Race She Claimed She Won In Iowa

Haley Finally Gets The Two-Person Race She Claimed She Won In Iowa

EXETER, N.H. – Just two days before the crucial New Hampshire primary, Nikki Haley finally got the one-on-one showdown with coup-attempting former president Donald Trump she has been wanting following the exit of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.

“Can you hear that sound?” she asked about 1,000 supporters in a packed high school auditorium as she took the stage Sunday evening. “That’s the sound of a two-person race.”

Haley, as she has been for most of the week, was accompanied by New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu, who endorsed her last month. She was also joined at the rally by TV star Judith Sheindlin – better known as Judge Judy – who endorsed Haley as “the real deal.”

“This is the momentum, the energy,” Sununu shouted from the stage in his introduction, pointing out that Trump had led Republicans to defeat in the House in 2018, in the White House and Senate in 2020 and then effectively killed the GOP “Red Wave” in 2022 with a slate of bad candidates across the country. “I am tired of losing, I am tired of losers, and I’m sure as hell tired of Donald Trump.”

Haley delivered her standard stump speech, warning about the $34 trillion debt, hitting Democratic President Joe Biden for his handling of the southern border, stressing the importance of early education and veterans’ health care and the need to stand up to China and Russia.

Her criticism of Trump was still limited to saying that, “rightly or wrongly,” chaos always followed the former president. She did not mention his coup attempt to stay in power despite losing the 2020 election or the 91 felony charges he faces across four criminal indictments.

Interrupted again by a protester criticizing her acceptance of campaign help from oil companies, Haley again said her husband and others in the military fight every day to protect Americans’ right to voice their view. “I’m always happy to see a protester,” she said.

She closed with a reminder that people shouldn’t bemoan election results if they don’t participate. “Don’t complain about what happens in the general election if you don’t vote in the primary on Tuesday,” she said. “Together we can do this.”

Haley finished 2 percentage points and 2,000 votes behind DeSantis in Iowa on Jan. 15, which Trump won in a landslide. Late polls in that race predicted she would finish ahead of DeSantis, but she nevertheless claimed that Iowa had narrowed it to a two-person race.

That confidence was based on DeSantis polling in single digits in both New Hampshire and South Carolina, the next two major primaries in the calendar. DeSantis essentially acknowledged as much in his video announcing he was dropping out, saying he could not see a path forward. In that video, he also endorsed Trump and attacked Haley for representing “warmed-over corporatism.”

Haley in late December seemed to be surging, particularly in New Hampshire, where one poll showed her just several points behind Trump. But that gap started widening again after Trump won Iowa with 51 percent of the vote, with DeSantis and Haley at 21 and 18 percent, respectively.

Her supporters Sunday night, though, said they expected that she would be able to finish strongly and defy the polls.

“There’s something brewing up here,” said Susan Parker, who is 78 and a 10-generation New Hampshire native who worked in the administration of former President George H.W. Bush.

She added that she was “cautiously optimistic” that Haley would prevail because she knows New Hampshire voters. “They appreciate the seriousness of what’s happening.”


January 2024