In 2016, New Hampshire Republicans endorsed Donald Trump after he lost in Iowa. Becoming the first state now to embrace the future president.Trump returns Saturday for his first campaign of his 2024 run, but this time, he faces rougher GOP terrain.
It’s a party reeling from devastating midterm losses in November. When Trump-backed candidates lost both congressional races. And a Senate race in the state.
This is dotted with those interested in hearing from Florida Governor Ron DeSantis about his possible candidacy. And this is a party that is tired of the drip, drip, drip of investigations dogging Trump.
And haters in the New Hampshire Republican now Party could push him off course.Among which the governor is no less.
“We just want the best general candidate,” Gov. Chris Sununu said in an interview. Sununu, a social moderate who is considering his own run for president. Threw some shade at both Trump and DeSantis before they set foot in the state.
Sununu predicted that Trump would not be able to defeat President Joe Biden — or simply anyone — in the 2024 general election.
“Really?” he said, his voice dripping with sarcasm. “Just fill in the blanks.”
Sununu argued that New Hampshire Republicans are tired of the drama and ready for a new face.
New Hampshire Republicans face losses in November. Trump-backed Don Bolduc, who made false claims about children using litter. Boxes in schools, lost to Sen. Maggie Hassan, and Democrats defeated Republicans in both House races.
“People who tend to be enthusiastic about Trump got behind Bolduc and lost. They got behind Carolyn Levitt for the House and lost. And they got behind [Bob] Barnes for the other House seat and lost,” said Republican Bill Bowen. Brepresentative who will vote for a new state party chair on Saturday. “It should throw off some of that enthusiasm.”
Longtime Republican Rep. Renee Plummer of New Hampshire, who now describes herself as bipartisan.
“No, no, stay away! Oh, my God,” Plummer said. “There’s a lot of people who used to be with him who are now saying: ‘Don’t come to us.’
Conversations about Trump are burning across a state whose voters are dead serious. About their first-state perch on the presidential primary calendar. Like the Iowa caucuses. The New Hampshire primary can anoint political minors, then launch them to higher status in other parts of the country. In 2016, Trump won the New Hampshire GOP primary with 35 percent of the vote.
“There’s an openness to a new generation of Republican leaders — that doesn’t mean the president can’t win. I don’t think it’s a foregone conclusion,” said New Hampshire Republican Mike Dennehy. A onetime adviser to late presidential candidate Sen. John McCain. “He has to earn it.”
Republicans say Trump has slowed down the retail politics he engaged in in 2016, when he was more likely to hold large rallies. The gesture will signal respect for the state and will likely endear it to those in the party who are moving away from it.
Now Republicans say Trump is doing the right thing with his first visit to New Hampshire. He is attending the state GOP’s annual meeting, where he will joi. A built-in crowd of hundreds of Republicans who will vote. For the next state party chair — though some skeptics speculated he was targeting an event in New Hampshire where he would secure a strong vote.
“He broke the mold a little bit. He wasn’t a candidate who would do town hall meetings or walk the streets talking to small businesses,” said. Former state GOP Chairman Steve Dupree, a former Republican National Committeeman. “If he’s smart, I think he’ll take it down a notch.
“He’s got a core of support that will stick with him no matter what happens. Whether he’s indicted, whether there’s a scandal, whether he’s convicted — anything,” Dupre added. “He has a strong base, and they will show up and vote. That base is a powerful force in the primary schedule.”
Still, Dupre said, Trump’s support is waning, and if Sununu runs, he will likely now create. Alane and emerge among the state’s top Republicans “and get that bounce.”
Sunu also cast some shade on DeSantis, casting doubt on his chances. In New Hampshire and alienating a growing number of Republicans who see him as an attractive alternative to Trump.
“I don’t know if I should use the word ‘alternative.’ To be