Nikki Haley beat former President Donald Trump 6-0 in the tiny hamlet of Dixville Notch as voting kicked off Tuesday in crucial New Hampshire Republican primary.
“A great start to a great day in New Hampshire,” Haley said in a statement. “Thank you Dixville Notch!”
The win amounts to a moral victory for Trump’s only remaining rival in the GOP race. But Haley faces extremely long odds of pulling off an upset of Trump as the MAGA leader hopes to effectively wrap up the GOP nomination with a big win.
Les Otten said he was happy to cast his ballot for Haley.
“It always does boil down to just a couple of people at the end of the day,” Otten said.“We’ve got two viable candidates on the Republican side.”
He praised the town’s quirky tradition of kicking off the national primary campaign as the clock struck midnight.
“None of the six of us can complain about the outcome of the election, because we’ve participated.”
Since 1960, the hamlet’s residents have voted at a hotel called the Balsams Resort.
But with that spot undergoing renovations, it was moved to nearby Tillotson House. It was a cozy setting, with a heap of homemade chocolate chip cookies and a golden retriever puppy named Maxine to greet media and voters.
Reporters outnumbered actual voters by a roughly 10-1 margin.
No one voted in the Democratic primary in Dixville Notch, which President Biden is skipping because the Democratic National Committee shook up the party’s early state lineup to exclude New Hampshire and Iowa.
In some previous elections, a couple of other tiny New Hampshire towns also voted at midnight, which is allowed under New Hampshire law. But this year Dixville Notch is going it alone.
With such a tiny sample of voters, the results obviously offer no real clue to how the election will end up.
Polls say Trump is heading for a big win over Haley in the Granite State when all the votes are counted Tuesday night.
A victory would give the former president a strong claim to the nomination after sweeping Iowa’s caucus last week.
The once-sprawling Republican field of rivals has dwindled to just two after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis dropped out over the weekend. Trump remains enormously popular among the party’s conservative base even after losing the 2020 election to President Biden.
Haley has staked much of her campaign on a strong performance in New Hampshire, which boasts a large number of independent-minded and moderate voters. Unlike other states, unaffiliated voters can participate in the GOP primary, another potential advantage for her.
If she cannot knock Trump off his horse in a favorable state like New Hampshire, many Republican insiders question whether she has a viable path forward in the primary fight.