Nikki Haley on Monday rejected the idea that she must win the New Hampshire presidential primary to continue her challenge to former President Donald Trump.
In an interview on NewsNation, the former South Carolina governor said that while the “political class” has declared Trump the presumptive 2024 Republican presidential nominee, all her campaign needs to do is finish “stronger” than in Iowa on Tuesday night.
“We started at 2% in Iowa and ended at 20%. I need to be stronger in New Hampshire, then stronger in South Carolina,” Haley told NewsNation anchor Leland Vittert on Monday. The former U.N. Ambassador said “it’s never been fair” to say that her presidential campaign is make or break in New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation primary.
“This is not a coronation. This is an election. And you go state by state. We’re going to take it one step at a time,” Haley said.
NEW HAMPSHIRE PRIMARY CLASH: CAN NIKKI HALEY SLOW DOWN DONALD TRUMP’S PUSH FOR THE GOP PRESIDENTIAL NOMINATION?
Nikki Haley and former President Trump side by side. Both are campaigning in New Hampshire ahead of the primaries. (Getty Images/ AP)
Iowa Republicans resoundingly elected Trump to be the party’s 2024 standard-bearer last week, handing him a convincing 30-point victory in the caucuses. The former president is hoping for a repeat performance in the Granite State, with strong momentum after second-place finisher Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis suspended his campaign and endorsed Trump.
At a campaign event Monday in Laconia, New Hampshire, Trump said that “now we’re down to two people. And I think one person will be gone probably tomorrow … now is the time for the Republican Party to come together.”
HALEY PLEDGES ‘I’M IN THIS FOR THE LONG HAUL’ IN RACE AGAINST TRUMP
Republican presidential candidate former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley speaks at a town hall campaign event, Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2023, in Manchester, N.H. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)
Haley argued Monday that Trump won “only” 1.5 percent of the total potential vote in Iowa, a state where over 3 million people live, and that his victory is not representative of the broader electorate.
Haley hopes that New Hampshire — where independent voters who make up roughly 40% of the electorate can vote in either major party’s contest and have a tendency to reject the winner in Iowa — will show she is a better fit for the general election in November and showdown with President Biden, a Democrat.
HALEY REVEALS HER PITCH TO DESANTIS SUPPORTERS
Republican presidential candidate and former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley is endorsed by New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu at a campaign town hall in Manchester, New Hampshire, on December 12, 2023. (REUTERS/Brian Snyder)
“The one thing we have to remember is Donald Trump only won with one and a half percent of the vote in Iowa, 56,000 people voted for him out of the state of 3 million,” Haley said. “That’s not representative of the country. And you’ve got the political class saying, Oh, it’s him. It’s got to be him. No, this is not a coronation. This is an election.”
Haley said her campaign will take the primary “one” state “at a time” and that she is looking forward to campaigning on “to my sweet state of South Carolina” after the New Hampshire primary.
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Fox News Digital’s Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.
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