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- Former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley held a campaign rally in Salem, New Hampshire, the night before the state’s first-in-the-nation primary on Tuesday.
- Some of the voters that Haley attracted were registered Republicans who don’t always vote for the GOP, supporters of President Joe Biden and “Never Trumpers,” according to conversations the Daily Caller News Foundation had with nine attendees from New Hampshire, Maine and Massachusetts.
- “I’m a left-leaning independent, but I’m pro-life — so neither party appeals to me,” Mark Croteau, a 64-year-old Massachusetts resident who grew up in Nashua, New Hampshire, told the DCNF. “I find the Democrats disgusting and the Republicans repulsive.”
(DCNF)—Hundreds of voters packed themselves into a Nikki Haley campaign rally on the eve of the first-in-the-nation primary Monday. Among the crowd was Mary Ellen Stergiou, a 62-year-old registered Democrat who plans on voting for Haley in the primary in protest to Trump, and due to President Joe Biden’s absence from the ballot.
“I feel better voting for her than for him,” Stergiou told the Daily Caller News Foundation in the company of her husband, Chuck, an undeclared voter. “We have just seen this disintegration of cultural norms, of common decency, respect, kindness. It is terrifying to me, as a mother, as a father, we have seen it disappear. And I always say [Trump] opened a Pandora’s box.”
Stergiou, who is a retired health care worker from Manchester, told the DCNF that one of her top issues is “women’s health.” The registered Democrat, who described herself as an independent voter, said she voted for Biden in 2020 and Hillary Clinton in 2016.
The Daily Caller News Foundation spoke with nine attendees of Haley’s event from New Hampshire, Maine and Massachusetts, all of which said they would not support Trump if he’s the Republican nominee in November. Several of the attendees are registered Republicans who have or are considering supporting Biden in the general election, while others were undeclared voters.
Terri Taylor, a 69-year-old retired nurse practitioner who travelled from Maine to hear Haley speak with her husband, Richard, didn’t support the former president in the previous cycles despite being a registered Republican.
“She’s just an amazing woman leader, and she’s not going to be like men, she’s going to be like a woman. And I think she’d make a wonderful president,” Taylor told the DCNF. “We just don’t need a narcissist in the presidency again. I’m sorry, we don’t. I can’t even listen to [Trump].”
The former president handily won the Iowa caucus on Jan. 15, bringing in 51% of the vote followed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ 21.2%, Haley’s 19.1% and conservative businessman Vivek Ramaswamy’s 7.7%. Both DeSantis and Ramaswamy have since dropped out of the race and endorsed Trump.
Ernie Fredericks, who recently retired from the health care industry, is a registered New Hampshire Republican, but said he hasn’t always voted for the GOP. Though Haley is the 62-year-old’s “pick,” Fredericks told the DCNF that he’d support a third-party candidate like he did in the last two elections if Trump is the nominee.
“I’m going to hope that there is a viable third party that emerges — and it doesn’t even have to be really viable, for me,” Fredericks told the DCNF.
“I’m a left-leaning independent, but I’m pro-life — so neither party appeals to me,” Croteau told the DCNF. “I find the Democrats disgusting and the Republicans repulsive.”
Another Massachusetts voter, Susan Heider, said she’s a registered Republican who previously voted for Clinton and Biden. Heider, who is a payroll manager and aged 60, told the DCNF she’d consider voting for Biden again instead of the former president in a general, but believes Haley will be able to secure the nomination.
“I like what she has to say. I believe she’s honest. I trust her values. And I feel like any Republican except for Trump, to be honest with you,” Heider said.
A CNN/University of New Hampshire poll released Sunday found that Haley was bringing in 58% support from undeclared voters in the Granite State who plan on voting in the Republican primary, as well as 73% from those who self-identify as an independent or Democrat. Additionally, only 17% of voters who consider themselves conservative backed Haley, compared to 71% who supported Trump.
Haley addressed the support she was receiving from the voting bloc in New Hampshire during a Fox News interview with Martha MacCallum earlier on Monday, which her campaign pointed to the DCNF upon request for comment.
“You know, it’s amazing. You look at the fact we are seeing suburban women come back to us. We’re seeing young college kids come back into the fold with us. Because they want to see somebody who’s going to be a new voice, a fresh voice, a fighter for them,” said Haley. “That’s what we care about. That’s what we’ve always cared about is normal people.”
The former ambassador is currently polling 18.2 points behind Trump in the RealClearPolitics (RCP) average for the New Hampshire primary.
Biden isn’t participating in the New Hampshire primary due to the Democratic National Committee’s new calendar, leaving Minnesota Rep. Dean Phillips and other lesser known candidates to compete for the state. However, the president still holds a majority of the support in the Democratic primary through a significant write-in campaign, according to the RCP average.
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