Having consolidated his control over the Republican Party in New Hampshire and fielded a robust statewide operation, President Trump begins a 2020 bid to flip the state.
Trump’s first New Hampshire campaign was outgunned by the Democrats and roiled by intraparty divisions that saw a sitting senator, Kelly Ayotte, and key elements of the state’s GOP establishment resist the nominee. But the president has turned the table. He has deployed a sophisticated get-out-the-vote program early in the election cycle that will be ready for November and has unified Republican voters behind him — impressing even GOP operatives aligned with Never Trump forces.
Trump lost New Hampshire to Democrat Hillary Clinton by a mere 2,736 votes, so his efforts have a chance of paying off.
“He’s surprised me in that there’s a deeper commitment to him than I thought existed,” said Tom Rath, a veteran Republican operative in New Hampshire who had hoped that John Kasich, the former Ohio governor, might challenge Trump for the nomination. “He’s clearly, completely captured the Republican Party.”
Trump is expected to defeat Bill Weld and Joe Walsh easily in the Feb. 11 New Hampshire primary, to be held as the Democratic contenders spar for the crown in a crucial battle on the road to their party’s nomination. As with the Iowa caucuses, the Trump campaign is using the New Hampshire primary to test run its November strategy and boost support for the president in a key state.