As the GOP primary moves to New Hampshire, former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley is intensifying her campaign against former President Trump, navigating a challenging political landscape. A GOP strategist described her strategy as walking a ‘crazy fine line.’
During a recent speech in Des Moines, Iowa, Haley’s aligned super PAC, SFA Fund Inc., aired an ad where a New Hampshire voter accused Trump of lying about Haley, labeling him a bully. Another ad portrayed both Trump and Biden as the most disliked politicians in America, embroiled in chaos and negativity.
Haley, while not directly stating Trump is unfit for presidency, made her stance clear to CBS News, asserting her ambition to be the next president and her desire to shift the focus away from Trump.
New Hampshire presents a more favorable terrain for Haley compared to Iowa. The state’s political climate is less conservative and more independent, with a significant number of moderate Republicans and independents. Her campaign has gained momentum, especially after the withdrawal of former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie from the race. With the backing of New Hampshire’s popular Republican Governor Chris Sununu and promising polling figures, Haley is working to close the gap with Trump.
Independents, the largest voting bloc in New Hampshire, are expected to play a crucial role in the GOP primary. Haley’s campaign is actively seeking to win over Christie’s supporters, with Greg Moore, the New Hampshire director for Americans for Prosperity Action, emphasizing the need to consolidate the Christie vote.
However, Trump enters New Hampshire with a strong lead, bolstered by his Iowa victory and the endorsement from Vivek Ramaswamy, a biotech entrepreneur and former MAGA-aligned candidate. Haley faces the challenge of defending her position in New Hampshire, where she has become the primary target of her Republican rivals. The state has seen a surge in TV ads and mailers, with a focus on Haley, both in support and opposition.
Matthew Bartlett, an unaffiliated GOP strategist from New Hampshire, highlights the delicate balance Haley must maintain. She needs to attract both staunchly anti-Trump voters and those less disillusioned with the former president. Bartlett suggests that being more of a ‘magnet’ than a ‘spear’ might be the key to winning over MAGA voters.