Former President Donald Trump won the Iowa caucus with an overall majority of the vote against three major candidates. Since then, only two remain: with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and businessman Vivek Ramaswamy dropping out (both endorsing Trump), Donald Trump and Nikki Haley are the only two runners in the race for the Republican nomination.
New Hampshire provided a great opportunity for Former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley to equal the tally with Trump, in terms of states won. New Hampshire is a left-leaning state where independent-registered voters are also allowed to vote in the Republican primary. Also, as we saw in the 2022 midterm elections, independents and independently-minded Democrats do not shy away from voting Republican once in a while. While moderate Republican Chris Sununu won the gubernatorial election by over 15 points; the more conservative Republican candidate, Don Bolduc lost his election for the Senate by nine.
Consequently, there was an organized effort to get independent-registered left-leaning voters to go out and back Haley to stop Trump. Governor Sununu also endorsed her.
However, that was not enough. Donald Trump won the state of New Hampshire as well.
He got 54.5 per cent of the popular vote, winning 12 out of the state’s 21 delegates. Haley got 43.2 per cent of the vote and the remaining nine delegates. Due to early voting, candidates who already dropped out received a couple per cent as well.
What is also notable is that the Republicans broke the record for turnout in the New Hampshire primary, set by the Democrats in 2020.
Ballots are still being counted, but The New York Times estimates that the final tally will be over 300,000 voters in total on the Republican side. The previous record was 296,000 in the Democratic primary in February 2020. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders’ home state is ‘right next door,’ and his enthusiastic supporters drove up the numbers that time: Sanders ended up winning the race, while the eventual winner of the nomination, Joe Biden only finished fifth (!). However, the Republicans, fuelled by the enthusiasm brought by President Trump, managed to surpass that turnout rate.
Democrats Fumble Their Early Primaries Again
Interestingly, Donald Trump won a higher share of the popular vote in the New Hampshire primary than incumbent President Joe Biden going virtually uncontested on the Democrat side (as of 93 per cent reporting). As we wrote above, President Trump got 54.5 per cent, while President Biden got 53 per cent.
However, that is because Joe Biden’s name actually did not appear on the ballot.
In a ‘woke’ effort to start off the primaries in a more ethnically diverse state, the DNC wanted to hold their first primary election in South Carolina on 3 February. However, there was a major oversight: there is a law on the books in New Hampshire that requires the state to have the primary election before any other state.
Due to the late discovery of the issue, there was not enough time to go through the process to qualify President Biden to appear on the paper ballot. Instead, there was a major write-in campaign, which spent around $1.5 million, urging voters to put Joe Biden’s name in the write-it column. Due to the embarrassing mishap,
New Hampshire’s delegates won’t even be able to vote for the nominee in the Democratic Convention in August.
This is the third time in a row that the Democratic Party has failed to organize their primary election smoothly.
In 2016, the entire process was dubbed as ‘rigged’ by supporters of Senator Sanders, many of whom had joined a class-action lawsuit against the DNC. At the 2016 Democratic caucus in Iowa, the vote totals at many sites were decided by coin tosses. The traditional nature of caucuses calls for vote totals to be determined by simple in-person head counts. Where the final result was too close to confidently call either way, coin tosses determined the outcome. Sanders supporters raised concerns that there were a suspiciously high number of tosses, of which Hillary Clinton won suspiciously many.
In 2020, the first results of the Demcrats’ Iowa caucus were not even made public until three days later. The preliminary results showed Pete Buttigieg winning the most delegates, while Bernie Sanders winning the popular vote. However, after numerous journalists pointed out obvious errors and discrepancies in the vote count, the process had to start all over again… Interestingly, this embarrassing fiasco did not receive wide media attention, and is largely forgotten by now.