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ERR in the US: Nikki Haley now only serious Republican rival to Donald Trump

Nikki Haley on the New Hampshire primaries campaign trail.
Nikki Haley on the New Hampshire primaries campaign trail. Source: SCANPIX/AFP PHOTO/Joseph Prezioso

Nikki Haley remains the only realistic challenger to Donald Trump for the Republican Party nomination ahead of November's United States presidential election, following the withdrawal of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who until a year ago was considered Donald Trump's most significant rival for Republican nomination, announced on Sunday that he would be pulling out of the race, ahead of the New Hampshire primaries taking place today, Tuesday. DeSantis also expressed his support for the 2016-2020 president, AK reports.

DeSantis said: "But I can't ask our supporters to volunteer their time and donate their resources, if we don't have a clear path to victory. It's clear to me that a majority of Republican primary voters want to give Donald Trump another chance."

While the Florida governor came in second place behind former U.S. ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley in the Iowa caucus last week, AK reports, quoting CNN, that DeSantis no longer has sufficient funding to continue.

The next vote is in New Hampshire, where DeSantis supporters are thin on the ground, making running there relatively pointless for him in any case.

AP journalist Meg Kinnard told ERR's new Washington correspondent Laura Kalam that: "Haley remains the only major non-Trump candidate still in the race, and so now, it remains on her, to continue taking her message to those voters who say that they are seeking an alternative in a Republican nominee for 2024."

Unlike in the Iowa caucus, in New Hampshire, independent voters – non-partisan voters – can cast a ballot, AK reports.

AK found that current polls have almost 50 percent of the participants in the Republican primaries in New Hampshire already backing Donald Trump, but DeSantis conceding will most likely benefit Trump even more.

Thanks in large part to non-partisan voters, Nikki Haley enjoys 36 percent support in the granite state.

One such Haley supporter, Richard Anderson, told AK that: "Looking at the Republicans, I was trying to choose someone who might be able to beat Trump, and she looked like my best bet. Her likability is very high."

"I like the fact that she will support Ukraine," Anderson went on, mentioning an issue very much in focus when viewing the looming U.S. presidential elections from this part of Europe.

The New Hampshire primary is being held today, Tuesday, January 23.

The original AK segment (in Estonian and English) is here.

While Haley trails Trump by over 10 percentage points in most polls, Washington politics portal The Hill reports that she, too, will have received a boost from the DeSantis exit, a momentum propelled along by her campaign raising a cool half-a-million dollars in the 24 hours after the Florida governor withdrew.

The New Hampshire presidential primary is the first in a series of nationwide party primary elections and the second party contest, following the Iowa caucuses.

While the above focuses on the Republican Iowa caucus and New Hampshire primary, the Democratic Party's national convention is undergoing the same process, with both parties voting for their respective presidential candidates come November. Current incumbent Joe Biden is not even listed on his party's New Hampshire primaries ballot sheet, but may well be elected in any case, via a write-in (ie. voters literally write in the candidate's name on the ballot sheet).

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Editor: Andrew Whyte, Merili Nael

Source: 'Aktuaalne kaamera,' reporter Laura Kalam.

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