Chris Sununu insists Nikki Haley ‘doesn’t have to win’ in NH


HAMPTON, New Hampshire — Gov. Chris Sununu was adamant Sunday that Nikki Haley doesn’t have to eke out a win in the Granite State to prevail in the 2024 cycle, as fresh polling shows her down double digits.

Despite his past prognostications that she could score a victory in New Hampshire, Sununu argued that she would not have to start subduing former President Donald Trump until Super Tuesday.

“She doesn’t have to win. I mean, nobody goes from single digits in December to you absolutely have to win in January,” the New Hampshire Republican governor told NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday.

“The fact that it can happen at all [is significant]. Trump said he was gonna run the table and win all 50 states,” Sununu further argued, before underscoring how she will have a month to build up in South Carolina.

On Sunday, Haley scored a key endorsement from New Hampshire’s Union Leader newspaper.

Two fresh new polls Sunday peg Haley down double digits relative to Trump in the Republican primary for New Hampshire.

A CNN poll found Trump with 50% support followed by Haley at 39% and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis at 6%. The poll was conducted from Jan. 16 to 19 featuring a subsample of 1,210 likely Republican voters as well as a margin of error of plus or minus 2.8 percentage points.

Similarly, Trump was found to tout a 55% edge over Haley at 36% and DeSantis at 6% in a survey conducted by Suffolk University, NBC10 in Boston, and the Boston Globe.

Nikki Haley and Chris Sununu have been crisscrossing New Hampshire ahead of the primary this Tuesday. Getty Images

That poll gauged 500 likely Republican voters with a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4. percentage points. It was taken from Jan. 19-20.

The most recent RealClearPolitics aggregate of polling shows a similar gap with Trump at 50.3%, followed by Haley at 34%, and DeSantis at 6.3%, in New Hampshire.

At the start of December, Trump stood at 45.6% while Haley clocked in at 18.6%, per the RCP.

Haley is also down considerably in her home state of South Carolina with 21.8% support, lagging far behind Trump’s 52% in RCP, which features sparse polling of the state.

“[I’m not] even looking at that right now,” Sununu replied when asked about South Carolina. “It’s really a month away.”

South Carolina is set to take place on Feb. 24. Between Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary and South Carolina, there is a contest in Nevada as well as the low delegate Virgin Islands caucus.

Nevada is host to a controversial and tumultuous GOP contest that will feature both a primary and a caucus. Haley has opted to compete in the primary, despite the caucus having the actual delegates.

“Super Tuesday is probably where you actually have to start winning states. But as long as the momentum keeps building into our home state, that’s an amazing opportunity to turn this around,” Sununu contended.

Super Tuesday — March 5 — will entail 16 Republican contests comprising around a third of available delegates.

Chris Sununu endorsed Nikki Haley in December. AP

Sununu also scoffed at Trump’s assertion that he has presidential immunity, which his lawyers are arguing in an appeals court to toss out his four-count 2020 election indictment.

“You’re going to have to allow a president — any president — to have immunity so that that President can act and do what he feels,” Trump stressed at a rally in Manchester Saturday evening.

“Otherwise, you’re gonna have presidents that are totally impotent, and we’ve had enough of them already.”

Trump has previously argued that presidents should have immunity even for actions that “cross the line.”

“He was dead serious, he wasn’t even making one of his ridiculous jokes,” Sununu said. “Everybody should be concerned with that type of mentality going into the White House.”

Donald Trump is the commanding Republican frontrunner. AP

Sununu defended his past assertion that he’d back the eventual Republican nominee even if that’s Trump.

“This is how bad Biden has been, this is how incompetent he’s been. The guy can barely get off the stage,” Sununu contended.

The governor further underscored the importance of beating Trump in the Republican primary.

“It has to happen at the ballot box. Don’t sit on your couch. Don’t wait for it to happen. Don’t wait for some external factor or court case to take over. You’ve got to get out and vote,” he said.

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