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Is the GOP primary race locked?

​Nikki Haley, former U.N. Ambassador and Republican presidential candidate, delivers remarks during a campaign event in Exeter, New Hampshire on Jan. 21, 2023.

Nikki Haley, former U.N. Ambassador and Republican presidential candidate, delivers remarks during a campaign event in Exeter, New Hampshire on Jan. 21, 2023.

(Photo by Nathan Howard/Sipa USA)

With Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis out of the race, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley – following her disappointing third-place finish in Iowa – faces Donald Trump alone in the New Hampshire primary today.

Haley is polling at 38% in the Granite State, and even if she wildly exceeds that in votes, she would still lose, giving Trump a decisive advantage ahead of the third primary in South Carolina.


For Trump, it’s all about timing. The 91 felony counts he’s facing are his biggest liability, and Trump’s legal strategy has been to delay the trials while trying to clinch the nomination as quickly as possible.

Between court appearances, he has been running a campaign to win endorsements and change state-level rules to his advantage. After meeting with Trump, the head of Nevada’s GOP barred DeSantis’ super PAC from campaigning in the state, and in California, Trump successfully pushed the state to change its formula for allocating delegates to a winner-take-all system.

Now, as Trump’s momentum gains steam, many in the GOP (Exhibit A: Ron DeSantis) are scrambling to show him their support – a telltale sign that they believe the primary contest is over.

Some critical unknowns

How will the Supreme Court rule? The justices are facing a laundry list of cases making their way through district courts that could influence the outcome of the 2024 election. So far, the court has agreed to hear arguments in Trump v. Anderson on Feb. 8.

The case will determine whether Colorado and Maine can use the 14th Amendment to bar Trump from their primary ballots. At the heart of this case is whether the courts view Trump’s actions on Jan. 6, 2021, as insurrectionist. Their answer could have implications for the federal indictment regarding Jan. 6 being pursued by Jack Smith, which will be argued on March 4.

Who will be Trump’s vice presidential pick? Congresswoman Elise Stefanik of New York is rumored to be a front-runner. Trump’s allies are urging him to select a female running mate to make him more palatable to female voters fleeing the GOP. Other contenders include Sen. Tim Scott, who dropped out of the primary and endorsed Trump early, and Sen. J.D. Vance.

Trump is happy to leave people guessing, telling Fox News, “There's no rush to that — it won't have any impact at all.”

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